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Louis Tomlinson welcomes in new year after difficult 2016

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One Direction star Louis Tomlinson has welcomed in the new year after suffering through a difficult final few weeks of 2016. It's been an emotional time for the singer, whose mother Johannah Deakin tragically passed away in December following a battle with leukaemia. Having kept a relatively low profile over Christmas and New Year's, Louis took to Instagram on Monday to embrace the arrival of the new year.

"I've felt better! Hello 2017!" he wrote to his 11.9 million followers, alongside a selfie in which he wrapped up warm with a fleece and denim jacket. The snap garnered over a million likes within hours of being posted, and fans also left touching messages of support, wishing the 25-year-old all the best for the year ahead.

louis tomlinson© Photo: Instagram

Louis posted a selfie on Instagram to welcome in 2017

While Louis has been staying out of the spotlight in recent weeks, he was praised by fans when he put on a brave face and appeared on The X Factor just days after Johannah, 42, passed away. Performing his first solo debut, Just Hold On, alongside DJ Steve Aoki as part of his mother's final wish, Louis was cheered on by the crowds at Wembley Arena while he sang – including fellow One Direction stars Harry Styles, Liam Payne and Niall Horan, who turned up backstage.

The British pop star later took to social media to thank fans for their outpouring of support, posting a photo taken during the performance. "Thank you for the incredible support :)," he simply captioned the snap.

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Louis bravely performed on The X Factor days after Johannah's death

Johannah herself had a message of thanks for her son's legions of fans, in a touching final post written just before her tragic death.

louis tomlinson mum© Photo: Getty Images

Johannah sadly passed away after a battle with leukaemia

The message was shared by her heartbroken widower Dan Deakin on Johannah's Twitter page. "Hi, it's Dan. Johannah asked for me to send this afterwards," he wrote. "She wanted to thank you all, and to let you know that you have been amazing right from the start. You changed Louis' life, but also her life.

"Your support now is as strong if not stronger than ever. So from Johannah one last time, thank you for everything xxx."

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