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U2’s Bono pays tribute during Arrowhead concert to local man who spent his life helping others

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- It was a perfect moment that made a rock concert unforgettable.

When U2 took the stage at Arrowhead Stadium on Tuesday, the band's lead singer, Bono, paid tribute to a local man whose life was spent helping others. The excitement is nearly overwhelming to the late humanitarian's wife.

Gail Mullin told FOX 4 News she couldn't believe her ears. She and a school teacher colleague from Stanley Elementary School in Overland Park attended Tuesday's U2 concert. Mullin says U2, and, in particular, Bono, were favorites of her late husband, Rob.

Rob Mullin's battle with cancer ended last November, 13 years after he was diagnosed with a series of brain tumors.

Gail Mullin says she had a ticket in hand for Tuesday's show, and she was already emotional, seeing her late husband's favorite musical act, when Bono called out Rob's name during the song "One Tree Hill."

"This is dedicated to Rob Mullin," Bono told the Arrowhead audience during one of the song's guitar bridges.

"I thought I was going crazy. I thought I heard, 'This is dedicated to Rob Mullin'," Gail Mullin said on Wednesday afternoon.

Ms. Mullin says she wasn't certain until her phone started to ring. Texts and calls began pouring in, confirming the kind act on Bono's behalf.

Rob Mullin helped start a metro non-profit called Be Headstrong, which helps brain cancer patients pay their everyday expenses. Gail Mullin says Rob was losing weight, and his senses of memory and balance, but he was dedicated to using his remaining time to help others who were in need.

"I could see him smiling. I could feel him around me. I felt his presence there, and I think Rob would have been speechless," Gail Mullin told FOX 4 News.

"I said to my husband,Tom, 'Did you just hear that? It sounded like he said Rob Mullin's name'," Kristin McMahon, Mullin's teaching colleague at Stanley Elementary School, said.

McMahon was also in attendance at the U2 concert. She says she knew how much Rob, who passed on nearly a year ago. McMahon says she was moved by another track from The Joshua Tree, when "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" was played at Rob's funeral last year. Three weeks before Mullin passed away, McMahon says Bono learned about Be Headstrong. He sent Rob a token of his esteem: handwritten lyrics from that song.

"It just was a really cool thing. Just a positive uplifting thing. When there's so much negativity and sadness, to 40 thousand people, Bono mentioned Rob Mullin," McMahon said.

"Even though I know this was something Rob wasn't able to see here on earth, he got the message. He knows what Bono did, and we'll forever be grateful," Gail Mullin said, while fighting back tears.

Gail Mullin added that she considered staying home from the concert, because she thought the show would be too emotional for her. Now, she tells me Bono's kind gesture helped bring Rob's memory back to the present. Gail says she hopes that will lead to advances in cancer research, and the long-awaited discovery of a cure.

(Reporter's note: the broadcast version of this story included short segments of U2's music. However, we are not permitted to publish music in the social media versions of our stories due to copyright law.)