Boyzone singer Stephen Gately was found dead on Saturday while on holiday on the Spanish island of Majorca. The star, who was there with civil partner Andrew Cowley, reportedly died of a pulmonary edema, a preliminary autopsy report says. A pulmonary edema is when fluids from blood vessels in the lungs get into the air sacs. This finding initially confirmed assumptions that Gately choked while vomitting after a night out drinking.
Until now. Stephen Gately’s mother says she is convinced her son had a heart condition nobody was aware of. Apparently a heart condition runs in the family on Stephen’s father’s side.
Stephen’s mother Margaret reportedly told a family friend: “As soon as I head he had died I knew it was a heart problem. It has lifted a huge burden off our family’s shoulders.”
This could mean that instead of choking on vomit, Stephen may have in fact died of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS). According to BANG Showbiz, Dr. Sanjay Sharma, consultant cardiologist at King’s College hospital, London – a leading expert in SADS – said: “The fact they found waterlogged lungs in this young man suggests his heart failed suddenly. That is a heart attack.
“In young people like Stephen, the vast majority of heart attacks are due to either hereditary diseases affecting the heart muscle itself or an electrical fault of the heart.
“If I was a betting man I would say it was an electrical fault. The heart would go into a fatally fast rhythm. That would only need to happen for a couple of minutes to cause death. Often in these cases, the first symptom is death.”
Whether the pulmonary edema was caused by Stephen Gately choking on vomit after a night out drinking or by an unknown heart condition remains to be seen.
The image was taken and posted by Michelle Woolnough. It is of Gately performing with Boyzone in London in May 2009. (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stephen_Gately.jpg)