The X Factor final was always going to be an emotional night, but the news that Louis Tomlinson would be going ahead with his scheduled live performance, just three days after the death of his mother Johannah Deakin, made it especially poignant.
The 43-year-old died on Wednesday (7 December) after a battle with leukaemia. The mother-of seven had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of the disease earlier this year.
Responding to the overwhelming show of public support Tomlinson broke his silence to thank his 23.5 million followers as he confirmed that he will be going ahead with the performance. "All the support has been incredible! Let's do this together tonight," he tweeted.
Taking to the stage in front of a live audience of millions he poured his heart into the song, Just Hold On, his debut solo track since One Direction's hiatus as he returned once more to the X Factor stage, where he first came to global fame in 2010.
Appearing on stage with DJ Steve Aoki, the 24-year-old demonstrated a professionalism beyond the call of duty, as he momentarily put his personal pain aside to entertain his legion of devoted fans.
Singing the poignant lyrics "Darling if it all goes wrong just hold on" he danced through the up-beat performance, receiving the loudest cheers of the night and a highly deserved standing ovation from the judges.
As Louis fought back tears, Simon Cowell, who was instrumental in his meteroic rise to fame with One Direction, praised the singer for his courage in the face of adversity.
"I've known you now for six years. For what you have just done and the bravery you have shown, I respect you as an artist and as a person," said Simon. "Your Mum was so proud of you and she is looking down on you tonight and you have done her proud. "
Leaving the stage in silence, Louis blew a kiss to his mother, breaking hearts around the world as he did so.
Following Johannah' s death fans have speculated that the lyrics of the song were penned in her honour.
As news of her tragic passing was announced o n Friday (9 December), fans of the star flooded social media with messages of support and sympathy.
His former bandmates Liam Payne and Niall Horan reached out offering their unconditional support in his time of grief. Zayn Malik too, put an end to his long-running rift with Tomlinson, sending a heart felt message on social media.
"@Louis_Tomlinson love you bro! All of your family is in my prayers. proud of your strength and know your mum is too x" (sic), he wrote.
It was widely rumoured that Payne, Horan and Harry Styles had attended the show in support of Louis and a photo of Styles, apparently taken backstage was circulated on social media.
Following the emotional peformance, Twitter erupted with messages of praise for the singer from his fans and his peers.