Louis Tomlinson, returned to the X Factor stage where he got his start with One Direction on Saturday Night, this time to launch his solo career with a performance he dedicated to his late mother.

Johannah Deakin had passed away just days earlier, on Wednesday, of leukemia. According to People, the 24-year-old singer performed his new single, "Just Hold On," which was particularly poignant in the wake of her passing. The lyrics read as if Tomlinson is searching for the strength to keep moving forward: 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? But despite the lack of surety in his lyrics, the calm confidence he exuded during the performance was felt by the entire stadium.


The rest of One Direction was there to support Tomlinson during his performance, and around the world fans cheered him on using the hashtag #ProudOfLouis to show their love. Even Simon Cowell, the notoriously icy and difficult to impress judge of The X Factor and American Idol, was blown away and offered kind words of condolence. In the video below, you can hear Cowell's warm support of Tomlinson as well as some sobs from a 1D fan who pulls herself together to say that she needs to stop crying because her "face is covered in tears."


News of Deakin's death broke on Friday, and the family issued a statement, including information about her illness: "Earlier this year Johannah was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of leukemia that required immediate and continuous treatment." Tomlinson and Deakin, who was a mother of seven children, seemed to have a close and positive relationship.

My mother looking gorgeous before the Brits earlier this year . I love you and miss you so much !

A photo posted by Louis Tomlinson (@louist91) on


Whether you're a fan of One Direction or not, Tomlinson's performance is an impressive feat in the wake of a crushing loss, and the support he was shown as he launched his solo career is a reminder that it isn't all drama and egos in the Boy Band world.

Sources: People