Boyzone frontman Ronan Keating fought back tears as he paid tribute to tragic bandmate Stephen Gately after the group landed in Majorca, Spain to accompany his body home.
Gately - who was found dead at his Majorcan home last Saturday (10Oct09) - is to be flown back to his native Dublin, Ireland on Friday (16Oct09) in time for the star's funeral on Saturday (17Oct09).
His bandmates - Keating, Shane Lynch, Keith Duffy and Mikey Graham - jetted in earlier on Friday to accompany the body home, and have vowed to stay by the coffin in Dublin's St Laurence O'Toole's Church overnight.
And as the surviving members of the group landed in Majorca, Keating stepped forward to pay homage to their "dearest friend".
He told reporters, "Last Saturday our world changed forever when we lost our friend and brother Stephen.
"We have come to Majorca today to accompany our pal on his final journey back to Dublin, where we know he will be given an unforgettable send-off tomorrow."
Keating went on to thank fans for their "countless messages of love and support", and insisted the tributes had "truly overwhelmed ourselves and the Gately family".
The four remaining members of Boyzone have inked their right biceps with tattoos of the numbers '76 09', to represent the years of Gately's birth and death.
A post-morten report ruled the singer died after suffering a build-up of fluid on the lungs.