Louis Walsh has paid tribute to Boyzone star Stephen Gately, saying that he feels like he has lost a "best friend".

Speaking to RTÉ yesterday, 'X Factor' judge Walsh said: "The [Boyzone] boys are devastated. It's like they have lost their very, very best friend, and me too."

View our Stephen Gately photo gallery here.

Walsh praised Gately's attitude, saying: "Of all the people I've worked with I don't think anybody thanked me as much as Stephen."

"He used to always say to me, 'If I wasn't in Boyzone I don't know where I'd be today, thank you'... A great, great, great professional kid."

The music manager said that a host of celebrities have contacted him to express their sympathy, including Elton John, Gary Barlow, The Pet Shops and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Walsh added: "David Beckham contacted me from LA. I couldn't believe that."

Describing what Stephen was like as a person, he said: "He was a great kid. He enjoyed life... He was always the life and soul of the party."

"What I'll miss most about Stephen is the fun. We always had fun."