Stephen Gately was happier than he’d ever been in October 2009.
Boyzone had just reunited and finished their Back Again… No Matter What Tour, with work on their fourth studio album, Brother, already underway.
And he and his partner, internet tycoon Andrew Cowles, had just arrived at their £1million apartment in the upmarket Majorca resort of Port d’Andratx, for a month-long working holiday.
On the evening of Saturday, October 9, 2009, they finished decorating the flat ready for the arrival of friends and family and were looking forward to a quiet night in.
Speaking to The Mirror at the time, a neighbour recalled, “I spoke to them on the Saturday evening and they said they were just going to chill out at home.
“Stephen said he was tired and was on a health kick, so he was staying off alcohol during his holiday.”
But something must have changed their minds and the couple instead headed for dinner and drinks in the nearby city of Palma.
The next afternoon, Stephen was found dead on the sofa.
He had suffered ‘acute’ pulmonary oedema – or fluid on the lungs – caused by an undiagnosed heart condition.
The pathology report confirmed his death was not related to drink or drugs and he’d been on good form in the days before, with his widower telling The Mirror, “I do get some comfort from knowing how happy he was that day.
“The night he died, we’d had such a good time, a lovely evening in our favourite restaurant. He was the most happy and confident he’d been in his life.”
While out, they met model and student Georgi Dochey in a bar and partied at the Black Cat club before the three of them headed back to Stephen and Andrew’s place at around 5.30am.
There, Georgie said they kissed before Stephen fell asleep on the sofa next to Andrew and he headed to a spare room.
He was woken by the doorbell at 8am but decided that as a guest, it wasn’t his place to answer – a move that would torture him for years to come.
“I heard someone ringing constantly. I got up and looked into the living room and saw Stephen and Andy still lying there on the sofa and I just thought: “It’s not my house, I can’t answer the door,'” Georgi previously told the Daily Mail.
“I don’t know if Stephen was already dead. I think about what might have happened if I had tried to wake him. Could he still be alive? It is really hard to think about things like that.”
Georgi said he and Andrew were intimate in a bedroom hours later, and that it was only when he stopped to have a cigarette on his way out that he noticed Stephen hadn’t moved from his ‘curled up’ position on the sofa.
“I went to take his pulse and couldn’t find one. I knew
he was dead,” he told The Sun in 2014, admitting he didn’t know how to break the news to Andrew, who by that point was said to be sleeping in the couple’s bedroom.
“I went into the bedroom and said, ‘I’m going. Let’s wake Stephen up so I can say goodbye’. Andy replied, ‘No, leave him sleeping’ and that’s when I told him Stephen looked strange,” he said.
Reliving the heartbreaking scenes as Andrew frantically tried to revive his husband, Georgi continued, “Andy was whispering, ‘Come on baby, wake up’. He began slapping him round the face when he didn’t respond.
“When he too realised he was dead, he broke down in tears. He then tried to revive him by giving him mouth-to-mouth but there was nothing either of
us could do.”
Stephen was pronounced dead at 2.25pm but had passed away in his sleep hours before.
“We know from the pathologist’s report that Stephen died sleeping with me on the sofa,” devastated Andrew told The Mirror.
“I know that my boy fell asleep under my arm, his heart stopped, he didn’t feel any pain.”
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But in 2014, Stephen’s family called for a fresh investigation into his death, which coroners ruled was due to natural causes.
“A few things about that night don’t make sense,” he told The Sun, questioning why Stephen fell asleep on the couch.
But Andrew branded Tony’s comments “groundless” and said they had “stirred up a lot of vileness”.
He said at the time: “I’m saddened that I’m still dealing with the estate and unable to grieve privately.
“It’s particularly difficult because I’m the administrator of the estate and must remain impartial. Some of the insinuations are dreadful.”