Boyzone slept next to Stephen Gately’s coffin in church so he wouldn’t be alone

Boyzone’s Stephen Gately died suddenly in 2009 at the age of just 33, after suffering a pulmonary oedema caused by an undiagnosed heart condition.

The singer’s death floored his bandmates, who said at the time: "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'”.

Ronan Keating, Keith Duffy, Shane Lynch and Mikey Graham obviously weren’t the only ones heartbroken at Stephen’s untimely passing, with his mum also left crushed.

She’d always known her son hated being left alone, and couldn’t bear the idea of his coffin sitting unattended overnight until the funeral the following day.

The boys stepped in to keep Stephen company for one last time, spending the night in sleeping bags next to his coffin at Dublin’s St Laurence O'Toole Roman Catholic Church.

Ronan later spoke about the “beautiful, amazing” experience on Sky News, saying: "We cried and we laughed and we could hear him telling us jokes and we could hear him answering back”.

In the morning, the group left the church and handed out their sleeping bags to mourning fans, who’d been waiting all night to wave Stephen off.

When the funeral came, those fans found themselves in good company as hundreds of Stephen’s friends and family turned up to bid the Irish star farewell.

They were joined by a string of celebs, including Jason Donovan, Louis Walsh and Vanessa Feltz.

And what a beautiful sendoff they gave Stephen, with a church full of his favourite flower, lilies, and pictures celebrating a life well-lived.

Speaking through tears, Ronan delivered a touching eulogy to his “ wingman”, saying:

“He will live on in our songs and whenever us four are together, his spirit is alive. But it will never be the same without him.

"A beautiful man who is now the perfect angel. Forever young and never forgotten. A man, a friend, a brother, a son, a husband and a hero.

"I'm going to really miss you brother, I love you, we always will. But we know you've found peace. Perfect peace".

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