Gately article leads to 21,000 complaints

A NEWSPAPER article about the death of Stephen Gately has drawn the largest number of complaints ever received by the Press Complaints Commission.

The piece by columnist Jan Moir, published in the Daily Mail on Friday, prompted 21,000 complaints, the PCC said.

The commission said it would waive its requirement for the involvement of "directly affected parties" in its investigations and would write to the newspaper for a response even if Gately's family did not make a formal complaint.

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The article was published the day before the funeral of the gay Boyzone singer, who died on the Spanish island of Majorca. Post-mortem examination tests found he died of natural causes.

In the column, Miss Moir wrote: "Healthy and fit 33-year-old men do not just go to sleep on the sofa, never to wake up again. Whatever the cause of death is, it is not, by any yardstick, a natural one."