We knew them because we are them. The more than 20,000 people who filled the grounds of the Route 91 Harvest Festival were country music fans, just like all of us, out for a night of fun, stars and great music. We’ve all done it. We’ve shown up early to hear those new, unknown acts destined to be stars so we could say, “I saw him when he was just starting out.” Future stars like Brennan Stewart.

The handsome, 30-year-old Las Vegas native had a great passion for country music. It’s apparent on his Facebook page, as peppered among photos of the country boy’s friends, family, motocross and hunting, are videos of himself covering country songs from Brantley Gilbert and Luke Combs, and even rockers Skid Row.

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But one cover is more poignant than any other post on his timeline. It is video of Brennan covering Cole Swindell’s heartbreaking “You Should Be Here,” on Oct. 4, 2016, just slightly more than a year from the day he lost his life at the festival when a gunman opened fire.

Since the Oct. 1 shooting, photos of motorcycles, hunt harvests and happy get-togethers have been replaced with reposts of the video as Brennan’s family and friends try to make sense of the tragedy. It also serves as a tribute for the rest of the world to see.

The rest of the world includes the song’s writer and singer, Cole.

In a post on his Instagram page, the country star recognized Brennan and the other victims of the Las Vegas shooting, and reached out to his family.

“This is Brennan Stewart. HUGE country music fan,” Cole writes. “He was one of the 59 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. 🙏🏻”

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It bears mentioning that Brennan was much more than just a country boy with a good voice. In March, he shared another post on his Facebook page that spoke of living your best life. It’s a message we could all benefit from.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Brennan Stewart as well as all the other victims of this terrible tragedy.

A country star is shining light on this talented fan who lost his life in Las Vegas Instagram/@ColeSwindell
Based in Nashville, Tammy is a 20-year veteran of the country music community. She has worked in marketing, PR and artist development. Follow her @TammyGooGoo and join the conversation @RareCountry
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