Distraught Boyzone manager Louis Walsh spoke of his grief at Stephen’s death before walking into church to attend his funeral.
He said: “It’s a difficult day but we have to say goodbye to Stephen today. And we have to celebrate his life.
“There’s an incredible atmosphere in the church. His friends, his family are in there – it’s what he would have wanted. He was a great person and he never did anything to hurt anyone.”
Louis, who picked Stephen to be part of Boyzone, added: “It was an incredible journey but we never expected it to end so quickly.
“We thought we would have ten more years together as a band. It was his dream to be a pop star and he did everything he wanted in his life.
Louis also paid tribute to the moving gesture by his Boyzone bandmates to spend the night in church keeping vigil by Stephen’s coffin.
Advertisement – article continues below »
He said: “They were his best mates, they were his family, they were the best friends in the world. And they knew the real Stephen, the Stephen who never offended anyone in
“As band manager he never gave me any problems. He just gave me great memories.”
Louis also paid tribute to the thousands of fans who had come to the church to say goodbye to Stephen
Louis said: “This is best place for him to be in the world. It is where he grew up and dreamed of being a pop star. The people out here today are real people. They are his fans. We all want to support his family today. Everyone loved Stephen. Today’s not about famous people it’s about real people.
Louis said that he has coped with the turmoil of the past week by trying to keep working hard.
He said: “I have just kept really busy. I have kept in constant touch with the other guys (from Boyzone). They are my best friends and we have all helped each other cope.”