The singer, 24, made his return to The X Factor to sing his new single “Just Hold On.” The song’s lyrics were particularly meaningful after Tomlinson’s mother Johannah Deakin died from leukemia last Wednesday. She was 43.
“It is with immeasurable sadness that Johannah Deakin’s family said goodbye to Johannah in the early hours of Wednesday, Dec. 7,” the Tomlinson family said in a statement. “Earlier this year Johannah was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of leukemia that required immediate and continuous treatment. We respectfully request that the family are given time and space to grieve in private.”
A source previously told PEOPLE it was Deakin’s final wish for Tomlinson to perform on the show that catapulted him to superstardom.