Days earlier, the boys had flown to Mallorca to bring back Stephen’s body following his sudden and shocking death from undiagnosed heart disease at his vacation home.
And when his devastated mother feared that her son would “not like to be alone,” the men decided to hold a night vigil at St Laurence O’Toole Catholic Church, spending the night in sleeping bags on the floor next door. of 33- one year old coffin.
“We cried and we laughed and we could hear him telling us jokes and we could hear him respond…” Ronan later told Sky News about the “beautiful, amazing” experience.
At around 6 a.m., they came out of the church and gave their sleeping bags to the fans who had spent the night out.
At 9 a.m., residents of the working-class North Strand neighborhood – where Stephen grew up – were in their backyards.
Friends he made as a celebrity – including Westlife, Louis Walsh, Jason Donovan, and Vanessa Feltz – mingled with friends he had known from childhood.
Messages of condolence were received from George Michael, David and Victoria Beckham, Take That, U2, Simon Cowell, Robbie Williams, Cheryl Cole, Sharon Osborne and Colin Farrell.
Elton John – who introduced Stephen to her husband Andrew Cowles – was on tour in Switzerland but sent a large bouquet of yellow flowers.
And his partner, David Furnish, said Elton was “completely private.”
“I feel incredibly sad, it seems so unfair, I just can’t understand. I know when Stephen died he was the happiest he had ever been in his life, ”said David.
“I think sometimes God wants good, pure souls early on and that’s how I think about it. I cannot understand otherwise because he was such a good man. ”
Inside the chapel, each aisle was adorned with lillies – Stephen’s favorite flower, and photos of the star throughout his life were displayed in the walls.
Relatives left gifts at the altar, including a Mickey Mouse teddy bear to signify his love of Disney and “belief in fairy tales,” a moisturizer to reflect his love of beauty products and a microphone as a symbol of his voice.
But it was Boyzone’s eulogy that turned out to be the most heartbreaking, with Ronan desperately speaking through his tears.
“We lost a brother and I lost my winger,” he said, his voice breaking.
While waiting for his breath to settle, he continued, “He will continue to live on in our songs and every time the four of us are together his spirit is alive. But it will never be the same without him.
“A handsome man who is now the perfect angel. Always young and never forgotten. A man, a friend, a brother, a son, a husband and a hero.
“I will really miss your brother, I love you, we always will.” But we know you’ve found peace. Perfect peace. ”
He promised to finish the fantasy novel Stephen was working on, titled The Tree of Seasons, and sang the Happiness hymn before the tearful group lifted Stephen’s casket and transported him out of the church for cremation. private at the Glasnevin cemetery.
That night, they gave their brother one last knee, remembering their beloved friend over an emotional late-night meal with director Louis Walsh, Westlife and David Furnish.
They sang songs, drank vintage champagne bottles and shared stories about Stephen at the Four Seasons Hotel in Dublin until the early hours of the morning.
A spectator told the Mirror: “Ronan, Keith, Shane and Mikey arrived together after the funeral and looked despondent. The tension of the day had taken its toll.
“But they decided Stephen deserved a good start so they stood up and celebrated his life with some of his closest friends.
“It was like a who’s who of the Irish pop world with the guys from Westlife and Louis Walsh at the head of the table. Louis later put a card behind the bar and told everyone to drink whatever they wanted because it was on him.
“It was great to see everyone with a smile on their face at the end of the night. They obviously had a lot of strength to be together.
“At one point some boys were sitting in the corner of the room and they started singing ballads and exchanging funny stories about Stephen.
The stars finally left around 2 a.m. and kissed before being whisked away in black cars.
And Shane recounted how Stephen would live in the four members of Boyzone.
Shane said, “The past week has been terrible for us. But we want Stephen to continue to live through each of us in everything he does. He’s with God now. He’s in a better place.
“He was our brother and he will be missed for the rest of our lives. We will never forget it. “