THE family of Stephen Gately has expressed anger at "upsetting" references in the late Boyzone star's new children's book referring to his background.

The acknowledgement section of Gately's book, The Tree of Seasons, which was published this month, refers to Sheriff Street, where he grew up, as being "one of the poorest parts of Dublin city".

It describes it during the 1980s as being "a place of civil unrest and terrorist activity".

A statement was issued on behalf of the family denouncing the content and pointing out that Gately played no part in the description or in the wider acknowledgments.

"[They] are aware of the upset which has been caused to the local community, and to themselves, where Stephen grew up, as a result of printed comments," it said.

"The Gately family wish to make it clear that these statements are not correct and do not reflect the views of the family themselves."

It went on to further refute suggestions in some media outlets that "he had a difficult upbringing and as an adult emerged a little damaged".

Further suggestions that the pop star feared returning to his native Sheriff Street are said to have caused hurt to his parents Margaret and Martin.

The statement continues: "Recent comments that Stephen 'had difficulty in getting the novel published while he was alive due to his lack of formal education' are also completely untrue as Stephen had agreed a publishing deal in 2008.

"In fact, Stephen had a full public schooling and went on to college education until he joined Boyzone."

Gately was found dead in his Majorca home in October last year at the age of 33.

His children's book was published posthumously this month and was widely tipped to be an instant best-seller. His partner Andrew Cowles made an emotional appearance on The Late Late Show on Friday night.