Precious memories | 

Keith Duffy shares touching tribute to late Boyzone bandmate Stephen Gately

Keith wrote: “A smile on a face that lightens and brightens a Sunday morning #keepingmemoriesalive #Steo.”

Boyzone members Stephen Gately, Keith Duffy, Ronan Keating, Mikey Graham and Shane Lynch attend RTE's The Late Late Show at RTE Studios on November 23, 2007 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by ShowBizIreland/Getty Images)

Neasa Cumiskey

Keith Duffy has posted a touching tribute to his former bandmate Stephen Gately.

The Boyzone singer tragically died in his Mallorca home from a congenital heart condition at the age of 33 in October 2009.

Taking to Instagram to pay tribute to his late friend, Keith wrote: “A smile on a face that lightens and brightens a Sunday morning #keepingmemoriesalive #Steo.”

Friends and fans flocked to the comments section to show support for the musician and to celebrate Gately’s life.

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One user said: “Aw he lit up when he smiled.”

Another wrote: “So true, thank you for making us all smile.”

Ronan Keating, another of Gately’s bandmates, has also been candid about the untimely death of his friend.

Speaking to The Irish Examiner, the 44-year-old shared that losing Stephen has made him “love more” and appreciate what he has.

The Dubliner said: “It scarred us. You just don’t expect anything like that to happen to someone you know and love so much, and at such a young age, with so much living left to do.

“It’s still hard to believe he’s gone. It makes you hug your children that little bit tighter, and love more, definitely.”

Keating added that he still confides in Stephen and his mother Marie, who passed away when the singer was 21.

“I can still hear what my mum might say to me, or what Stephen might say to me in situations. I often thought about it through lockdown too,” he confessed.

“It’s funny because you know they’re not here, so you try and imagine what it would have been like with them here.”

And he told readers that a song on his latest album – a duet with Robbie Williams - was an emotional tribute to Stephen.

Ronan explained: “Rob was in the studio the week Stephen passed. He started writing this song after hearing the news, and 10 years later he reached out to me.

“The first time I heard it was very emotional. I remember standing in my kitchen when Rob emailed it to me, with tears in my eyes. It was the 10-year anniversary [of losing Stephen] the day I heard it, so there was a lot of emotion.”

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