Christian artist Josh Wilson pays tribute to his friend Nathan Johnson, who just lost his wife.

NASHVILLE — Just before 2:40 on Tuesday morning, Christian music artist Nathan Johnson and his wife Megan welcomed their first child Eilee Kate.

Still in her hospital bed, Megan Johnson held, fed and burped their new daughter. Giddy with excitement, the musician said he couldn’t sleep at all that night.

Right after Eilee was born, the new father sent pictures of his wife and daughter celebrating the newly expanded family to fellow Christian artist Josh Wilson, who he had been performing with days before. But the celebration took a tragic turn when Megan started having complications later Tuesday morning. Wilson received a text message from his friend, asking for prayers.

“Of course we didn’t know what it meant, so we stopped what we were doing and just prayed.” Wilson said.


But in a few hours, by 11 a.m., the new mother had passed away from pregnancy-related complications. Eilee was a little over 8 hours old. Doctors are unclear what caused her death, Wilson said.

On Wednesday, Johnson took his daughter to their Nashville home for the first time, surrounded by friends and family helping the new father cope with the loss of his wife.

Wilson and a close circle of friends and relatives sprang into action. Wilson created a GoFundMe campaign that raised more than $300,000 from over 6,000 donors in less than 24 hours.

Christian artist Francesca Battistelli, after visiting Johnson once he got home Wednesday, said he is going through “a range of emotions.”

“He’s so over the moon for his daughter, but you can see grief has hit him at the same time,” said Battistelli, a Grammy winner who had Johnson play in her band for more than 30 gigs in the last year.

Battistelli said her guitarist friend is surrounded by dozens of friends and relatives, and they have volunteered to get food, run errands, cut his lawn, buy diapers and do other things to support Johnson and his new baby.

“It’s a beautiful thing to see,” she said. “It was amazing how many people were surrounding him.”

Battistelli, six months pregnant with her fourth…