Stars, Fans Hail Gay Boy Band Pop Star Stephen Gately at His Funeral in Ireland

PHOTO Members of Irish band Boyzone, Ronan Keating, foreground left,  Mikey Graham foreground centre,  and Shane Lynch background right, carry the coffin of fellow band member Stephen Gately (inset) from St. Laurence OToole Church, after the funeral serv

Thousands of mourners turned up to pay their respects to Stephen Gately, the Boyzone star who died last Saturday in Majorca, Spain, at his funeral in Dublin Saturday.

Sir Elton John, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Louis Walsh, boyband Westlife and former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern were among the congregation at St Laurence O'Toole Church in the north inner city.

Fans camped out overnight to say a final goodbye to the singing star who was hugely popular among the band's fans, and many spent the evening reminiscing about the late singer.

The four remaining Boyzone stars, Ronan Keating, Mikey Graham, Shane Lynch and Keith Duffy, went to Spain and spent the week helping organize the return of their bandmate's body back to Ireland.

They accompanied Gately's remains home on Friday and the four stayed up all night with Gately at the church as they told fans that 'he didn't like to be alone."

Many fans also made the overnight vigil outside the church, and at around 6 a.m. local time, the four came out of the church to mingle with fans, shake their hands and thank them for their support.

"It is a huge tragedy," Bertie Ahern told RTE outside the church. "I find it very hard. I had endless chat with Ronan before the band came back. He was so glad to get the band back and Stephen was so glad to get the band back, and then this happens a year into it."

Irish singer Tony Kenny, a favorite of Stephen's mother Margaret, sang during the service. Father Declan Blake, who celebrated the funeral mass, remembered Stephen as the the kid who used to teach disco dancing at the church, and said that mourners should grieve with hope.

The remains of Stephen Gately are being taken to Glasnevin Crematorium for a private family service.

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