Just days ago, Louis Tomlinson's mother, Johannah Deakin, passed away after battling an aggressive form of leukemia. Deakin's dying wish was for her son to perform on The X Factor and return to the stage that made him a star. On Saturday night, Tomlinson did just that. Tomlinson gave an emotional performance in his mother's honor on the stage of the U.K. singing program. His One Direction bandmates, including Zayn Malik, all showed up in support, reports People. Tomlinson took the stage with Steve Aoki to sing his new single, "Just Hold On," his first as a solo artist. The lyrics were especially compelling given the tragic turn of events days before. At one point, Tomlinson sang to the crowd, "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? 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?”
After his performance, Tomlinson kissed his hand and raised it in the air while he received a standing ovation. He also received a touching message from Simon Cowell, who told Tomlinson, "I’ve known you now for six years. What you’ve just done — and the bravery — I respect you as an artist, I respect you as a person. And your mum was so proud of you, Louis, and she was so looking forward to tonight. She watching down on you now and you’ve done her proud.” Deakin was only 42 years old. The mother of seven had just received her cancer diagnosis earlier this year. Shortly after his performance, Tomlinson went on Twitter to express his gratitude. "That was harder than I ever imagined," he tweeted. "I want to thank everyone around me and all of the amazing fans out there that made that so special!"
In a second tweet, he said, "Feeling so much love around me and my family. Mum would have been so fucking proud (sorry for swearing mum) love you!" You can watch the full performance, including Simon Cowell's remarks, in the video, below.