Boyzone's Stephen Gately, who in 1999 became the first member of a "boy band" to come out publicly, was found dead on Saturday, October 10, in an apartment he shared with his partner, Andrew Cowles, in Majorca, Spain. The cause of death is unknown.
Though the band never quite caught on in the U.S., Boyzone was one of the major U.K. pop acts in the 1990s and had six number one singles on the U.K. Singles Chart by the time the group split in 2000. Following the split, Gately went on to have a successful solo music and acting career and became one of the most prominent out entertainers in the U.K. Boyzone reformed in 2008 and their video for the single "Better" featured each member of the band singing to a woman, except for Gately who was shown singing to a Cowles.
In 2002, mutual friends Elton John and David Furnish introduced Gately to Cowles. The couple held a commitment ceremony in Las Vegas in 2003 and entered into a civil partnership in London in 2006. Gately is also survived by his parents, with whom he had healed a bitter rift in the year before his untimely passing.
Though neither Cowles nor Gately's parents have spoken publicly, the surviving members of Boyzone released the following statement:
We are completely devastated by the loss of our friend and brother, Stephen. We have shared such wonderful times together over the years and were all looking forward to sharing many more. Stephen was a beautiful person in both body and spirit. He lit up our lives and those of the many friends he had all over the world. Our love and sympathy go out to Andrew and Stephen's family. We love you and will miss you forever, 'Steo'.