‘He holds a special place in our heart’ – Global star pays tribute to music fan Kevin who he performed for after Hitchin’s Rhythms of the World

Raghu Dixit and Kevin Johnson, who sadly died before Christmas.

Raghu Dixit and Kevin Johnson, who sadly died before Christmas. - Credit: Archant

Tributes have been paid to a music fan who sadly passed away this month after a brave fight against terminal illness – including from a global star who gave an impromptu concert to him after playing Hitchin’s Rhythms of the World.

Kevin Johnson hit the headlines after big-hearted Bollywood singer Raghu Dixhit played at the festival in 2015 in front of around 15,000 people, before heading straight to Kevin’s home in Purwell.

His wife Valerie of Maylin Close had contacted the singer-songwriter and producer through social media to tell him her husband was a massive fan and would love to meet him in person – but that he only had months to live.

The family were stunned to receive a Facebook reply from the star, who also played Glastonbury the same summer.

Kevin – who battled on until he passed away just before Christmas – suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but said at the time that the visit had ‘lifted his spirits’.

Speaking to the Comet, Val said: “I can’t believe my darling husband Kevin has gone. He was such a good man and battled so bravely.

“It’s such a massive loss. He was so strong. Towards the end the doctors said to him: ‘We can’t believe you’re still here. Whatever you and Val are doing keep it up’.

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“We were soul mates for 28 years. He was the kindest man. He was loyal and generous – he would give you his last penny.

“We managed to get to Goa earlier this year. I don’t know how he made it, but we had a wonderful time. It really lifted his spirits.

“Anyone who came into contact with him absolutely loved him as a person. He loved India, and he loved Raghu Dixhit’s music. We are going to play No Man Will Ever Love You Like I Do at his wake.”

The Comet contacted Raghu after Kevin’s death and he kindly replied, saying: “After Valerie wrote to us saying how much Kevin wished he was at our show, but couldn’t, we just had to make the trip to their house. It was incredible for us, a band of musicians from India to be received with this much love and warmth by them.

“The feeling of sitting in their living room, singing some of our songs to Kevin across the table, with his whole family there with him was something we will never forget and it surpassed many large shows we’ve done to count as one of our favourite moments ever!

“We were devastated when we heard about Kevin’s passing recently and wish that Val finds the strength and comfort to carry on. We will always remember him and he holds a special place in our heart. Like his favourite song went … “No one will ever love him, like all of us do!”

A moved Val added: “It’s so nice of Raghu Dixhit to pay tribute to him. He was a such a lovely down-to-earth man when we met him and I know Kevin really appreciated his visit.”

The funeral service will take place at St Mary’s Church in Hitchin from 1.30pm tomorrow. All enquiries to Chenery Funeral Services, 44 Bedford Road, Hitchin, or call them on 01462 434375.

If you would like to donate to give Kevin the best send-off possible visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/KevJohnson.

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