Ronan delivers emotional musical tribute as Boyzone say farewell to Stephen Gately


The four remaining members of Boyzone - who have had matching tattoos with the numbers 76 09 (the years of Stephen's birth and death) made in his memory - carry his coffin from the church
 Photo: © PA


Thousands of people lined the streets of Dublin to pay tribute to one of Ireland's favourite sons
 Photo: © Getty Images


A heartbroken Louis Walsh, who managed Boyzone for 16 years, joined Jason Donovan, David Furnish and Westlife members at the emotional service
 Photo: © Getty Images

17 OCTOBER 2009

In life he was known for his unassuming and gentle nature.

But his unstarry manner didn't mean that late Boyzone star Stephen Gately wasn't enormously loved and respected as was evident on Saturday when thousands of people lined the streets of Dublin to pay tribute to one of Ireland's favourite sons.

At midday mourners gathered to give the 33-year-old musician - who passed away tragically a week ago in Majorca - a heartfelt send off at St Laurence O'Toole's church, located near his childhood home.

His emotional bandmates Ronan Keating, Shane Lynch, Mikey Graham and Keith Duffy along with two family members, helped to carry the coffin of their dear friend out of the church.

During the service, Ronan performed a moving rendition of In This Life.

Later, surrounded by his bandmates he delivered a heartfelt eulogy, breaking down in tears as he said: "The world has lost one of it's brightest stars. We have lost a brother and I have lost my wing man.

For Stephen, we will carry on but it will never be the same without him."

Jason Donovan, David Furnish, Prime Minister Bertie Ahern and members of Westlife were also at the church to pay their respects.

As was Boyzone's manager Louis Walsh, who spoke movingly of his heartbreak over the loss this week.

In order to cope with the volume of well-wishers and fans – the 550 capacity church was reserved for friends and family – loudspeakers broadcast the emotional service to the crowd outside.

Saturday's funeral followed a private mass service on Friday evening, held for Stephen's parents Margaret and Martin, the rest of his family and his close friends.

The remaining Boyzone members also staged a vigil that night with Stephen's coffin in the Dublin church.

It is thought a memorial service will take place in a few weeks time in London, where Stephen shared a home with his partner Andy Cowles.