BOYZONE star Stephen Gately died suddenly yesterday at the age of just 33, the News of the World can reveal.
Last night the cause of his death was unclear.
A close friend said it appeared Stephen died after going out in Majorca, where he was on holiday.
“It looks like he went out for a few drinks, then got back, fell asleep and never woke up,” the pal said.
Early this morning Boyzone manager Louis Walsh told us: “We’re all absolutely devastated.”
“I’m in complete shock. I was only with him on Monday at an awards ceremony. We don’t know much about what’s happened yet.
“I only heard after The X Factor and we will rally around each other this week. He was a great man.”
All four remaining members of Boyzone – who recently reunited – will be flying to Palma, Majorca tomorrow.
Boyzone star Shane Lynch said: “Me and the boys are flying out in the morning.
“We just need to get over to where he’s passed and work out what we need to do.”
Ronan Keating, who is in Chicago, has been left devastated.
A pal revealed: “Ronan is completely distraught. No-one saw this coming. He loved Stephen like a brother, they were so close, it’s absolutely floored him. “It’s a massive shock to everyone and no one can take it in yet. He was a man in the prime of his life, and this is a huge tragedy.”
He leaves a partner Andrew Cowles, who he married in a civil union in March, 2006.
The gay singer’s coming out ten years ago caused a sensation in the pop music world.
Gately joined Boyzone in 1993 after answering an advert in Dublin to audition for Ireland’s first boyband.
The band went on to have huge success.
Six of their singles reached number one, including “Stay” in 2001.