His body was discovered by partner Andy, insist family
SINGER Stephen Gately's husband was the person who found his body early on Saturday afternoon, the tragic Boyzone star's family insisted last night.
Bulgarian Georgi Dochev -- a friend of Stephen's (33) and his partner, Andrew Cowles (32) -- claimed yesterday he found Stephen dead in the Dubliner's apartment in Majorca. The three men had been drinking together in Palma in the hours before Stephen died.
After giving police a statement, Mr Dochev (25) said: "I found Stephen dead and I woke his husband. Stephen was white and very cold."
But Mr Gately's solicitor and family friend, Gerald Kean, last night insisted Mr Cowles was the one who found his husband's body.
The remaining members of Boyzone, led by Ronan Keating, will bring the body of their friend on its final journey back to Dublin in the coming days.
Although the four band members arrived back in the capital last night, it emerged they were expected to return to Majorca to bring Mr Gately's body back to his family.
The band is now to link up with manager Louis Walsh, who is staying at his apartment in Dublin city centre.
The death continued to spark a media frenzy yesterday, with Mr Kean refuting some of the more lurid speculation about Stephen's death.
He dismissed reports that Stephen had been on an eight-hour drinking session the night before and that police were looking for Mr Dochev in connection with the death.
"He stayed overnight, he was there when the police arrived and they are not looking for him," Mr Kean said. "We are not satisfied that it was an eight-hour drinking binge. We don't understand where that's coming from at all.
"The reason for that is a close family member spoke to Stephen at half eleven Irish time, which would be half twelve Spanish time. He was in very good form and was getting ready to go out with Andrew to Palma, which is about an hour away.
"Now, if it was half twelve that this person was speaking to Stephen at, he was only getting ready to go, so one would assume that it was two o'clock in the morning by the time he reached Palma and he was home by six o'clock Spanish time.
"That would mean we are talking about a three-hour trip to Palma and Stephen was in good form."
Mr Kean added he had been speaking to Mr Cowles last night, who told him that Mr Dochev stayed in the spare room of the apartment, and not in the couple's bedroom.
"You will have to ask the husband what has happened," said Mr Dochev, who is from Sofia.
"It has been very traumatic. I don't want to say anything more. I am still nervous and really upset. I almost have not slept since this happened."
Mr Dochev, who lives in a modest flat on the outskirts of Palma, said he had now given police a full account of events leading up to Stephen's death. He said that Mr Cowles had also spoken fully to detectives.
The Gately family are expected to find out the exact cause of the 33-year-old's death today. He is believed to have choked after getting sick in his sleep.
The Spanish central government's top representative in the Balearic Islands said yesterday that the exact cause of death should be established quickly following the post-mortem examination. Ramon Socias, in the first official comment since the tragic accident, said Stephen did not die as a result of violence.
The Gately family are not expected to travel to Majorca and will stay in their home near Sheriff Street in Dublin's north inner city to arrange his funeral. Mr Kean continued to liaise with the family, and visited mother Margaret and dad Martin at the family home yesterday.
He said that not much progress would be made until after the post-mortem examination was carried out.
Meanwhile, MCD confirmed yesterday that a new play starring band member Keith Duffy has been pulled from the Olympia due to Stephen's tragic death.
The play, 'The First Time', was due to open tonight.
Anyone who bought tickets to the show is asked to contact their local ticket office or the Olympia Theatre venue.