There goes another part of my childhood.
Stephen Gately, the former Boyzone member who made headlines when he came out as gay in 1999, died last Saturday while vacationing in Mallorca, Spain. He was only 33.
The circumstances surrounding the Irish singer’s death are strikingly similar to Rico Yan’s: (1.) He was last seen partying the night before; (2.) He went back to his apartment drunk; and (3.) He fell into a deep sleep from which he would never wake up. Sources found no signs of foul play and declared that he died of “natural causes”.
I was never a rabid fan of his vocals, ditto for his band’s remake-laden discography. But his voice was part of what made Boyzone distinct. It had character. Without him, the band might as well have been known as Ronan and Friends. Stephen was the face of Boyzone, yet at the same time, he also seemed to be its most fragile member – like he was reluctant to be in the spotlight. But that fragility translated into strength with the bold decisions he made in his career, from his lukewarm solo effort in 2000 to his subsequent foray into theater years later.
RIP, Mr. Gately. You’ll be missed.