- Category: CELEBRITY NEWS
- Published on Monday, 19 October 2009 19:57
- Written by Rosalin Johnson
- Hits: 1507
A newspaper article questioning the cause of Boyzone star Stephen Gately's death by columnist Jan Moir has triggered 21,000 complaints so far. It is the highest number ever received by the Press Complaints Commission. In the piece, published in the Daily Mail, Moir wrote: "Whatever the cause of death is, it is not, by any yardstick, a natural one."
She went on to suggest the gay singer's "lifestyle" may have been a factor in his death in Majorca, despite a coroner ruling the star died of natural causes.
Her words sparked a furious reaction, including a Twitter campaign encouraging people to formally complain.
This is funny. We all know that a gay life-style is a risky one (high risks of HIV and all that), not just because of the homosexual act itself but often because of the lifestyle that goes with it. It has been reported that Gately smoke cannabis the night he died.
Moir has defended herself, saying suggestions of homophobia were "mischievous" and that the backlash was a "heavily orchestrated internet campaign".
The commission said it would write to the Mail for a response even if Gately's family did not make a formal complaint. Police have also received a complaint about the article.
But what did Moir actually write?
Read for yourself:
A strange, lonely and troubling death . . .
Dead at 33: Stephen Gately
The news of Stephen Gately's death was deeply shocking. It was not just that another young star had died pointlessly.
Through the recent travails and sad ends of Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger and many others, fans know to expect the unexpected of their heroes - particularly if those idols live a life that is shadowed by dark appetites or fractured by private vice.
There are dozens of household names out there with secret and not-so-secret troubles, or damaging habits both past and present.
Robbie, Amy, Kate, Whitney, Britney; we all know who they are. And we are not being ghoulish to anticipate, or to be mentally braced for, their bad end: a long night, a mysterious stranger, an odd set of circumstances that herald a sudden death.
In the morning, a body has already turned cold before the first concerned hand reaches out to touch an icy celebrity shoulder. It is not exactly a new storyline, is it?
In fact, it is rather depressingly familiar. But somehow we never expected it of him. Never him. Not Stephen Gately.
In the cheerful environs of Boyzone, Gately was always charming, cute, polite and funny.
A founder member of Ireland's first boy band, he was the group's co-lead singer, even though he could barely carry a tune in a Louis Vuitton trunk.
He was the Posh Spice of Boyzone, a popular but largely decorous addition.
Gately came out as gay in 1999 after discovering that someone was planning to sell a story revealing his sexuality to a newspaper.
Although he was effectively smoked out of the closet, he has been hailed as a champion of gay rights, albeit a reluctant one.
At the time, Gately worried that the revelations might end his ultra-mainstream career as a pin-up, but he received an overwhelmingly positive response from fans. In fact, it only made them love him more.
In 2006, Gately entered into a civil union with internet businessman Andrew Cowles, who had been introduced to him by mutual friends Elton John and David Furnish.
Last week, the couple were enjoying a holiday together in their apartment in Mallorca before their world was capsized.
Boyzone: Gately and his bandmates had a hugely successful career and had recently reformed
All the official reports point to a natural death, with no suspicious circumstances. The Gately family are - perhaps understandably - keen to register their boy's demise on the national consciousness as nothing more than a tragic accident.
Even before the post-mortem and toxicology reports were released by the Spanish authorities, the Gatelys' lawyer reiterated that they believed his sudden death was due to natural causes.
But, hang on a minute. Something is terribly wrong with the way this incident has been shaped and spun into nothing more than an unfortunate mishap on a holiday weekend, like a broken teacup in the rented cottage.
Consider the way it has been largely reported, as if Gately had gently keeled over at the age of 90 in the grounds of the Bide-a-Wee rest home while hoeing the sweet pea patch.
The sugar coating on this fatality is so saccharine-thick that it obscures whatever bitter truth lies beneath. Healthy and fit 33-year-old men do not just climb into their pyjamas and go to sleep on the sofa, never to wake up again.
Whatever the cause of death is, it is not, by any yardstick, a natural one. Let us be absolutely clear about this. All that has been established so far is that Stephen Gately was not murdered.
And I think if we are going to be honest, we would have to admit that the circumstances surrounding his death are more than a little sleazy.
After a night of clubbing, Cowles and Gately took a young Bulgarian man back to their apartment. It is not disrespectful to assume that a game of canasta with 25-year-old Georgi Dochev was not what was on the cards.
Cowles and Dochev went to the bedroom together while Stephen remained alone in the living room.
Gately's civil partner, Andrew Cowles, left, and Bulgarian student Georgi Dochev, right, were at the apartment on the night of the singer's death
What happened before they parted is known only to the two men still alive. What happened afterwards is anyone's guess.
A post-mortem revealed Stephen died from acute pulmonary oedema, a build-up of fluid on his lungs.
Gately's family have always maintained that drugs were not involved in the singer's death, but it has just been revealed that he at least smoked cannabis on the night he died.
Nevertheless, his mother is still insisting that her son died from a previously undetected heart condition that has plagued the family.
Another real sadness about Gately's death is that it strikes another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships.
Gay activists are always calling for tolerance and understanding about same-sex relationships, arguing that they are just the same as heterosexual marriages. Not everyone, they say, is like George Michael.
Of course, in many cases this may be true. Yet the recent death of Kevin McGee, the former husband of Little Britain star Matt Lucas, and now the dubious events of Gately's last night raise troubling questions about what happened.
It is important that the truth comes out about the exact circumstances of his strange and lonely death.
As a gay rights champion, I am sure he would want to set an example to any impressionable young men who may want to emulate what they might see as his glamorous routine.
For once again, under the carapace of glittering, hedonistic celebrity, the ooze of a very different and more dangerous lifestyle has seeped out for all to see.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1220756/A-strange-lonely-troubling-death--.html#ixzz0UPizTULp