Las Vegas shooting victim's cover of Cole Swindell's 'You Should Be Here' goes viral
While the drama and heightened conversation about the October 1 shootings in Las Vegas have somewhat subdued, people are still coming to terms with the horrific events and remain very much shaken. The shootings were carried out by 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, who took to a casino hotel suite and smashed out the window overlooking a country music festival, before raining bullets on the crowd of festival-goers below.
He killed 58 people and wounded hundreds more. One man who was killed was 30-year-old Brennan Stewart, who lived in Las Vegas and was a huge country music fan.
Since his death, his family revealed that he was a musician himself, who regularly posted videos online of himself playing the guitar and singing covers of his favorite songs from the country music genre.
One of his videos, a cover of Cole Swindell's You Should Be Here, was shared as a tribute to Brennan, and it has since gone viral. He recorded his version of the song at home and uploaded it to Facebook almost exactly a year ago on October 4, 2016. "Took a slower approach to 'You Should Be Here' by Cole Swindell," he wrote as the caption, "Thoughts on this one!?"
The original song released in 2015 was a tribute to Cole Swindell's father, who unexpectedly passed away while the country musician was away touring.
Since being re-shared last week, Brennan's video has over 242,000 views and has been shared on Facebook almost 2,000 times. Many commented on the video, calling it a "beautiful" rendition of the original. Brennan's Facebook is flooded with heartfelt tributes and messages from close friends, as well as strangers who were touched by his story.
Cole Swindell himself even reached out with a post of his own, sharing a picture of Brennan and writing a personal tribute to the country music fan.
"This is Brennan Stewart," said the caption. "HUGE country music fan. He was 1 of the 59 [sic] that never made it home Sunday night. I’ve seen his cover of 'You Should Be Here' and it’s absolutely heartbreaking. I will be thinking of him and the others who lost their lives every time I sing that song.. hope to connect with his family when I’m in Vegas in December."
Another of his songs, a cover of Luke Combs' Hurricane has also gained popularity and was added to iTunes, Spotify and Amazon Music in the past few days.
Brennan's family on Tuesday confirmed that the 30-year-old had died in the attack. They released a statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, saying Brennan “rarely missed an opportunity to attend a country concert.”
“Brennan made close friends quickly; was loved and will be missed greatly by family and friends, but his memory will live on,” read the statement.
While Brennan is only one of 58 victims who died during the attack, his story and the amazing love and appreciation shown for him and his music shows how much more there is behind a statistic. 58 people died, meaning there are 57 other stories of unique individuals celebrated and remembered for their own achievements, just like Brennan.