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Autopsy: Boyzone's Stephen Gately Died 'Natural Death'


An autopsy on Boyzone singer Stephen Gately, who died suddenly at the age of 33 while on holiday in Majorca, has concluded:

"'He died a natural death of acute pulmonary edema' which had nothing to do with any consumption of alcohol or drugs, the spokeswoman in the Majorcan capital of Palma, said. A pulmonary edema can be due to either the failure of the heart to remove fluid from the lungs or direct damage to the lung tissue. Gately, 33, was found dead on Saturday in his apartment in the Majorcan town of Port Andratx while on holiday on the Mediterranean island. News reports said he had been out late the night before. Cowley's partner Andrew Cowles, whom he married in a civil union in 2006, signed papers on Tuesday morning to allow the body to be transferred out of Spain from a mortuary in the Majorcan town of Calvia, the spokeswoman said."

The Telegraph reports: "A man who was at Mr Gately's apartment the night he died has described finding the singer's lifeless body. Georgi Dochev, 25, said he alerted Mr Gately's partner, Andrew Cowles, after finding him 'very cold and white'. Bulgarian Mr Dochev is believed to have accompanied Gately and Mr Cowles back to the apartment in the resort of Port Andratx in the early hours of Saturday after a night out. Mr Dochev has spoken to police who are investigating the death."

Tabloids have been reporting that Gately choked on his own vomit after a night of binge drinking, but those reports don't appear to corroborate with the autopsy.

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  1. Who is this person? It sucks he died,but why all the press? People die every second.

    Posted by: DairyQueen | Oct 13, 2009 11:25:25 AM

  2. Autopsy FAIL.

    Posted by: Steverinoino | Oct 13, 2009 11:33:37 AM

  3. He was a sweet person and I hope all the news reports which rushed into speculation about alcohol and drugs will correct the record. Pulmonary edema can be caused by a heart defect.

    I enjoyed his music and am sad that he died, and made even sadder by unnecessarily snarky comments from people who apparantly are safe from heart defects because they HAVE no heart.

    Posted by: john | Oct 13, 2009 11:51:10 AM

  4. "This person" was a gay member of a very popular boyband in Europe who came out long before Lance Bass did, and with less hoopla. His importance is the part he played in exposing a generation of boy band fans to gay people, since he was popular before he came out. His coming out didn't really affect his popularity, and thus hundreds of thousands of younger people had a positive image of gay people.

    Other than that, he's no more interesting than Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger or any other celebrity who dies suddenly. People like to gossip, you know. At least he was gay (justifying the news of his death being on this website).

    Posted by: DannyI | Oct 13, 2009 11:54:05 AM

  5. I could be wrong, but a pulmonary edema can be caused by many things, including any sort of upper airway blockage (i.e. choking or drowning). So while the cause of death may be "natural" and not technically a direct result of alcohol intake (like alcohol poisoning), it's certainly possible that the rumored cause of death may in fact be true.

    Posted by: D.B. | Oct 13, 2009 12:03:54 PM

  6. Get a physical once a year. Watch out of your health. That's the message here. Stay active and physically fit.

    Posted by: Bill | Oct 13, 2009 12:07:24 PM

  7. Zexy

    Posted by: Mmmmm Bulgaria | Oct 13, 2009 12:15:08 PM

  8. I don't know Mr. Gately and am only familiar of Boyzone by their name. I hope the autopsy gives some solace to the family.

    It's despicable that news agencies reported it as an alcohol related death without actually knowing the facts. It seems like everyone is lowering their standards to that of the National Enquirer (American Rag). Journalism hardly exists anymore.


    Posted by: jakeinlove | Oct 13, 2009 12:17:22 PM

  9. Stephen Gately was an inspiration in how open he was regarding his sexuality - he risked losing the majority of his income by coming out, but he did it anyway. That said... Pulmonary oedema is not "natural" in 33-year-olds. If Stephen Gately suffered from a congenital heart defect, the coroner would have detected it during autopsy and reported as such. What is it with coroners on tropical islands? They must be easier to bribe than those on the mainland (Los Angeles excepted). Sorry - in the absence of other credible explanation - you have to assume the PR-unfriendly cause is the true one: overdose.

    Posted by: Donovan | Oct 13, 2009 12:22:34 PM

  10. Wonder if his husband feels guilty for sexing it up in the bedroom with another man while Stephen lay dying on the couch?

    Posted by: um? | Oct 13, 2009 12:46:02 PM

  11. D.B., above, is completely right about pulmonary edemas and I agree with his statement. This cause of death does not rule out the described method of death of choking on vomit.

    Posted by: unruly | Oct 13, 2009 12:56:33 PM

  12. Choking on your own vomit can also be caused by acid reflux. That's very natural.

    Posted by: Vince | Oct 13, 2009 1:31:31 PM

  13. This story is very sad and does not deserve the snark in these comments.
    Gately came out as a proud gay man in 1999 when it was not an easy thing to do, especially for someone from working-class inner-city Dublin. Boyzone were/are huge in Ireland so his coming out, support from his bandmates and civil union with his partner did a lot to humanize gays in Catholic Ireland. Their video for "Better" this year was groundbreaking for pop boy bands in featuring Gately with a male love interest.
    Further more, Mallorca is no banana republic. It is part of Spain where, unlike in the US, Gately's husband was treated with respect and recognized as the legal decision-maker for his remains. He may have been just a pop singer but by all accounts he was nice guy who in his own way advanced gay issues for many of his fellow citizens.

    Posted by: JJ Sullivan | Oct 13, 2009 1:43:48 PM

  14. Two things. Firstly I love how Americans automatically say 'who' when the news talk about someone they dont know, you'd never know America was only 4% of the worlds population the way they behave.
    Secondly It seems some people are only capable of judging others by their own low standards. People at all ages do just die suddenly without the need for alcohol or drugs.

    Posted by: Rovex | Oct 13, 2009 2:01:29 PM

  15. @DairyQueen

    Just because *you* don't know him doesn't mean he isn't a big deal in Ireland. The unbelievable gall of Americans to think the entire universe must always revolve around us continues to astound this Yankee.

    Gately was the first major Irish celebrity - that is from the Republic of Ireland and not "Ulster British" or "Irish American" - to come out of the closet. And he instantly became the symbol for a more modern, less puritanical Ireland.

    Among those who have commented on his death include the country's Prime Minister. It was also the lead story on the state broadcaster RTE.

    Posted by: John | Oct 13, 2009 2:09:19 PM

  16. @Andy - "to corroborate with" ???? I think what you want is "The the autopsy doesn't corroborate those reports"

    Posted by: buster | Oct 13, 2009 2:41:11 PM

  17. John : Yes, Stephen Gately really did become a symbol of the more modern Ireland. Willingly, unwillingly, I'm not sure. Anyway, I was very sorry to hear of this. I know Boyzone had a mega-huge following over there throughout Europe that was really looking forward to this new tour.

    Posted by: JT | Oct 13, 2009 4:08:04 PM

  18. No Matter What they say.....sleep peacefully Stephen,precious.

    Posted by: john | Oct 13, 2009 5:14:32 PM

  19. If you don't know who he is, why bother commenting?

    Stephen Gately was one of those popstars that was loved by everyone, truly will be missed.

    Posted by: Colette | Oct 13, 2009 5:23:59 PM

  20. apparently healthy 33 year old men do not die of 'natural causes.' Are there going to be any toxicology reports?

    Posted by: Putney | Oct 13, 2009 6:43:41 PM

  21. The medical examiner took fluid samples, presumably from what was in his lungs, so I'm sure someone will leak whether he drowned in gastric fluid (i.e. choked on vomit) or if he had some other catastrophic illness that nobody knew about until he died. Toxicology reports generally take about 3 weeks.

    The fact that the husband said "it was an accident" without even waiting for the coroner's report certainly gives credence to the first possibility. Also the fact that he was found kneeling with his head against the couch makes it seem like he woke up and tried to lean forward to clear his lungs.

    Poor lad. That's a sad, lonely ending.

    Posted by: Naughty Lola | Oct 13, 2009 7:04:01 PM

  22. It doesnt really matter how he died, it is very sad to know that his angelic voice will no longer be. If you are not familiar with Boyzone do yourself a favor and get to know their music. They were huge in Europe but never made a name in the USA which is a shame. They are more talented than many who have a career in the USA. I have watched the video "Love You Anyway" available on Youtube a few times since his passing and enjoy it very much. One thing is true he will always be beautiful and talented nothing will change that now.

    Posted by: Ted | Oct 14, 2009 3:15:46 PM

  23. "Natural causes" is a legal term, not a medical one. It simply means that someone died of something other than accident, suicide, homicide, "act of God" (natural disaster) or act of war.

    While it's not very common, apparently-healthy young people do in fact die suddenly, and while non-natural causes do have to be ruled out in such cases, if they can easily be ruled out (as seems to be the case here), there's nothing inherently suspicious about such a death. Tragic, yes, but not suspicious.

    Posted by: ebohlman | Oct 14, 2009 5:54:03 PM

  24. Stephen will be missed by many.
    He was a rode model to many specially for having the courage to come out and live his life the way he was.
    He touched a lot of lives and is now a bright shinning star that will never fade away....
    May you be happy wherever you are dear Steo.

    Posted by: JT | Mar 29, 2010 7:52:19 PM

  25. Dear VINCE...
    I applaude your comment.
    He was and forever will be a beautiful singer, person and role model.

    Posted by: JT | Mar 29, 2010 7:56:36 PM

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