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Stephen helped Westlife's Mark to come out

Dancing on Ice 2007

Westlife star Mark Feehily has said that the late Stephen Gately was an inspiration to gay men. Feehily has said it was easier for him to come out after the late Boyzone star led the way.

Mark came out in 2005, while Gately announced publicly that he was gay in 1999.

Feehily told OK! magazine: "Stephen was extremely brave.

"He was the first member of a boy band to come out.

"And in hindsight it helped me and probably lots of other gay lads to understand their sexuality and come out."

He added: "Every time a celebrity who is admired by millions of people comes out it is one more blow to any negative stereotype that is out there."

Stephen passed away in October while on holiday in Majorca with his civil partner Andrew Cowles.

Gately died from an undiagnosed heart condition, a forensic report has revealed.

Scientists at The National Toxicology Institute in Barcelona concluded that the Boyzone star suffered a heart problem caused by atheromatosis, a thickening of arteries, and ruled out drink or drugs as a factor in his death.


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