Louis Tomlinson paid a tribute to his late mother with a performance on Saturday’s (10 December) ‘X Factor’ final, appearing on the ITV talent show just 24 hours after news of Johanna Deakin’s death broke.
Courageously taking to the stage in his mum’s memory, Louis performed his debut solo single ‘Just Hold On’, with collaborator Steve Aoki.
While the performance itself was not especially emotional, Simon Cowell gave a charged response, telling the singer: “I’ve known you for six years, and what you’ve just done - and the bravery - I respect you as an artist and as a person.
“Your mum was so proud of you Louis and she was so looking forward to you tonight. She’s looking down now, you’ve done her proud. Steve, you’re a great friend to Louis, thank you so much.”
Just hours before Louis took to the stage, the track was released on iTunes, and soon entered Apple’s Top 10 chart.
And despite the fact the song itself is a largely upbeat dance track, many fans have speculated over whether the lyrics are about Johannah.
“Oh until it’s all been said, It’s not over until your dying breath, So what do you want them to say when you’re gone?,” Louis sings. “That you gave up or that you kept going on?
“What do you do when a chapter ends? Do you close the book and never read it again? Where do you go when your story’s done?”
The family confirmed news of Johanna’s death on Friday in a statement, which read: “It is with immeasurable sadness that Johannah Deakin’s family said goodbye to Johannah in the early hours of Wednesday 7th December 2016.
‘”Earlier this year Johannah was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of leukaemia that required immediate and continuous treatment. We respectfully request that the family are given time and space to grieve in private.”
Johannah’s husband Dan Deakin added: “Johannah was first and foremost a truly amazing mother to seven children – Louis (24), Lottie (18), Félicité (16), and two sets of twins, Phoebe and Daisy (12) and Ernest and Doris (2) - whose individual talents and success are testament to the principles and beliefs she instilled in them. She was also an incredibly proud grandmother to Freddie.
“Incredibly selfless, she would always look to put other people before herself. She desired nothing more than for everyone around her to be happy and loving. She worked tirelessly on numerous charity campaigns, creating memories for many individuals and their families.”
He continued: “It wasn’t uncommon for Johannah to hear through the media of an individual in need of assistance, and she would immediately make it her objective to get that person what they often desperately needed, and rarely without success.
“These are the things that made Johannah happy and content in life, and all of which for me made her simply the perfect wife and best friend to face each day with.
“I thoroughly loved walking through life with her, and though five years was far too short a time, during that time we had so many lifetimes worth of happiness, adventures, and memories.
“We would like to send our sincere thanks to Professor Steve Mackinnon and his team at University College London Hospital where Johannah was hospitalised since May. And during the last few weeks Professor John Snowden and his colleagues at Royal Hallamshire Hospital Sheffield.”