London - His face serious but his voice powerful, Gary Barlow took the stage at the very end of the London Olympics closing ceremony, singing Rule The World alongside his Take That bandmates with strength and poise just days after a tragedy in his own life.

Speculation had been rife that Barlow would bow out of the performance after he and his wife Dawn said on August 6 that their daughter had been stillborn.

At the time, the couple said they were devastated by the loss of Poppy Barlow and said their focus was “on giving her a beautiful funeral and loving our three children with all our hearts”.

Barlow and his wife have a son and two daughters.

Barlow, also a judge of the TV talent show The X Factor, was the organiser of June's huge Buckingham Palace concert celebrating Queen Elizabeth II's diamond jubilee. - Sapa-AP