Stephen Gately was born in Dublin, Ireland on 17th March 1976. He was a man of many talents - a singer, an actor, a songwriter and an author - but someone who was probably best known for being part of one of the biggest boybands of the 1990's, Boyzone.
As one fifth of Boyzone, Stephen was a household name. Boyzone were one of the most successful boybands in history, who over seven years in the 1990’s notched up no less than six number one singles, four number one albums and played to millions of fans the world over.
Stephen was born on 17th March 1976, the second youngest of five children, from a suburban house in Sheriff Street, on the north side of the Liffey in Dublin. As a child, Stephen loved performing. He got a small part in the film The Commitments' then after being successful at an audition in Dublin he was catapulted into the pop world through securing his place in Boyzone.
Stephen has achieved more than most thanks to seven amazing years with one of the biggest boybands of all time. Boyzone's debut single Love Me For A Reason' flew into the charts at no. 2 in 1994 ensuring that Stephen Gately, Ronan Keating, Keith Duffy, Shane Lynch and Mikey Graham became the most promising and exciting Irish export.
They followed this success with the singles 'Key To My Life' (No. 3), 'So Good' (No. 3) and then their cover of the Cat Stevens classic 'Father and Son' which hit the number two spot. Hit after hit ensued, from 'Baby Can I Hold You', 'Isn't It A Wonder' to 'I Love the Way You Love Me'. Boyzone's string of number one singles and albums is a guide book and bible to all future boybands. They recorded their version of 'When The Going Gets Tough' for Comic Relief which sold over 700,000 copies in the UK. It wasn't until Boyzone began scoring number one hits and sales continued to soar that Stephen realised just how far Boyzone had come. Since their first release Boyzone became the first act in chart history to reach the top three with their first 14 singles and the first act since The Beatles to debut at number one with their first four albums.
The continuing popularity of Boyzone was shown when an album called Boyzone Ballads - The Love Songs Collection was released in the UKand Europe in March 2003 and reached No6 in the UK charts without any promotional work
In June of 1999, at the age of 23, Stephen discovered someone was trying to sell a story to the papers that he was gay, so Stephen decided to tell the fans himself. A brave move from a young man who has thousands of young fans, mostly girls and was part of one of the most talked about boy bands of the decade. In coming out so publicly Stephen broke barriers that had previously existed for gay artists and has paved the way for others.
Having achieved so much with Boyzone, the band decided that in 2000 they would spend some time on solo projects. Stephen was the first of the boys to strike with his debut solo single titled New Beginning' and then his debut solo album, also named New Beginning'. Two further singles followed, I Believe, which was on the soundtrack of the movie, Billy Elliot, and Stay. Stephen was very proud of his solo album but after parting company with his record label he then took some time out from the music business.
In December 2002 Stephen came back refreshed and with a bang playing the lead role in Bill Kenwright's new production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat which previewed in Oxford in December 2002 before moving to Liverpool over Christmas 2002 and finally to London's West End and the New London Theatre in Drury Lane in February 2003. Stephen received fantastic reviews for Joseph and played to enthusiastic audiences until September 2003 when he left the role for pastures new.
Stephen continued to take on a range of different stage roles where he could combine his love of singing and acting. In September 2004 Stephen took on a very different role where he became quite unrecognisable after being transformed into the evil Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium - where he frightened children at each show until March 2005.
Stephen made his debut in pantomime at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley in December 2005 starring as Dandini in Cinderella and showcased another of his talents by writing a song called A Brighter Day especially for the show.
Then in April 2006 Stephen took on another new role in his musical theatre career - as the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz at the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury.
January 2007 brought a challenge of a different kind as Stephen paired up with Canadian champion skater Kristina Lenko to take part in ITV's smash hit Saturday night show Dancing On Ice. In between rehearsals for this Stephen also went into the recording studio with G4 to record No Matter What for their last album, Act Three, present and sing with G4 at the annual Childline Concert in Dublin and tape a radio episode of Dr Who for BBC7 as Tommy Tomorrow recording a new song, Children Of Tomorrow, for this as well to great acclaim from the producers.
Stephen was also very pleased to be an ambassador for the charity Caudwell Children and always supported their work as much as possible.
Stephen combined his passion for films and all things Disney to work with Film 24 where he interviewed a number of Hollywood stars ranging from Daniel Craig to Jamie Bell and Miss Piggy and attended launches for the DVD of Enchanted and Ratatouille for the channel.
In November 2007 Stephen joined Shane, Keith, Mikey and Ronan on stage again as Boyzone for BBC's Children In Need appeal and Stephen toured with the band starting in May 2008 in Belfast then all over the UK and Ireland through June, July and August 2008. In September 2008 Boyzone released their first single in eight years, Love You Anyway, which reached No 5 in the UK charts released a greatest hits album, Back Again...No Matter what which features 3 new tracks including their second single, Better. A further tour of the UK and Ireland followed and the band continue to work together to record a new Boyzone album for release in 2010. One of his greatest joys was being back with his ‘brothers’, Shane, Mikey, Keith and Ronan and making music and touring with the band.
Sadly, however, Stephen passed away suddenly but peacefully at just 33 years old at his second home in Mallorca from an undiagnosed heart condition on 10th October 2009 leaving his husband, family, friends and fans mourning the loss of this hugely popular, talented, warm, funny, kind and generous man. Through his love, his friendship, the joy he brought to people through his music and performances and his courage he has touched the lives of many people across the world.
Stephen was very close to completing his fantasy novel, The Tree Of Seasons, and he left sufficient notes about the ending to allow Andrew to ensure the last few pages were completed as he would have wished and his dream of seeing this book in print and becoming a published author will be realised on 29th April 2010 when the book is released.
Whilst his passing leaves great sadness for many people Stephen would want to be remembered for the joy and the fun he brought to everyone who had the good fortune to have had him touch their lives.