Stephen Gately died after choking on his own vomit, it has been claimed.

The Boyzone singer's partner Andy Cowles discovered his body in a crouched 'praying' position at their holiday home in Majorca, Spain, on Saturday lunchtime (10.10.09) following a night out at a local gay club.

A family friend said: "The family has been told the most likely scenario is Stephen had a bit too much to drink, vomited in his sleep and choked. It was a terrible accident."

Another source added: "Andy said he screamed, 'Wake up! Wake up!' at him. He also tried mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

"But doctors later confirmed Stephen's lungs had filled with fluid. There was nothing Andy could have done. He'd drowned and asphyxiated."

After trying to revive Stephen, 31-year-old Andy then called for help from a neighbour's home.

Investigators arrived at the house at 1pm and admitted the 33-year-old star's death was a "mystery" - but ruled out foul play.

A police source said: "Stephen was discovered in a strange position. He was squatting down on the sofa almost in a praying position.

"At the moment all we know is Stephen Gately is dead and he was found on a sofa at an apartment in Port d'Andratx on Saturday.

"The rest is a mystery. There were no signs of violence or evidence of suicide or any obvious evidence pointing to another probable cause of death, like drug use. But we're unable to shed any light on what's happened until after a post mortem."

Police are appealing for Giorgi Duchev, a 25-year-old Bulgarian man Stephen and Andy met at the Black Cat nightclub to contact them.

Georgi left the club with the couple and continued drinking with Stephen in their apartment after Andy went to bed, but there is no suggestion he is involved in the singer's death.

A source said: "We do not believe there is foul play but his testimony is vital."

Stephen's "shattered" family and Andy are unable to take calls about the star's death and instructed solicitor Gerald Kean to speak on their behalf.

He said: "There's no foul play involved. There is nothing untoward. It's not drugs, it's not suicide, it's not murder, it's not a fight."

A spokesperson for Stephen's Boyzone bandmates - Ronan Keating, Shane Lynch, Keith Duffy and Mikey Graham - said they were "devastated" by the news.

The group flew into Majorca yesterday (11.10.09).