Jermain Defoe has written a heartfelt tribute to his best pal Bradley Lowery who sadly passed away after a long battle with neuroblastoma aged just six.
Bradley touched the entire world with his cheeky grin and enduring spirit and willingness to fight but no one more so than Jermain Defoe.
The former Sunderland striker was Bradley’s hero and frequently visited him in hospital and at home, as well as welcoming him to The Stadium of Light on several occasions.
You can read Defoe’s full tribute here:
Goodbye my friend gonna miss u lots. I feel so blessed God brought u into my life and had some amazing moments with u and for that I’m so grateful. I’ll never ever forget the way u looked at me when I met u for the first time, the genuine love in those cute eyes. Really finding it hard to find words to express what u mean to me. The way u say my name, ur little smiles when the cameras come out like a little superstar and the live I felt wen I was with u.
Your courage and bravery will continue to inspire me for the rest of my life. You will never know what a difference you made to me as a person. God has you in his arms and I will always carry you in mu heart. Sleep tight little on. My best friend.
The young football fan from County Durham was diagnosed with stage 4 high risk Neuroblastoma in January 2013.
His mother Gemma had previously posted that her son’s cancer was progressing quicker than first thought, even sharing an MRI scan to social media showing the cancer’s attack on Bradley.
The family notified the public via social media as they have done throughout Bradley’s brave battle against his illness:
My brave boy has went with the angels today 07/07/17 at 13:35, in mammy and daddies arms surrounded by his… https://t.co/AowNwemgh3
— Bradley Lowery (@Bradleysfight) July 7, 2017
In a statement on Facebook his mother said:
My brave boy has went with the angels today 07/07/17 at 13:35, in mammy and daddies arms surrounded by his family.
He was our little superhero and put the biggest fight up but he was needed else where.
There are no words to describe how heart broken we are.
Thank you everyone for all your support and kind words.
Sleep tight baby boy and fly high with them angels.
On the 1st July, Bradley’s family informed people that the youngster ‘insisted on having a party’ as a way to say goodbye to his cousins, girlfriend Poppy and best friend Jermaine Defoe.
His condition was said to be deteriorating with a Facebook post from the family stating he was ‘very weak and finding breathing difficult’.
His mother Gemma said that despite knowing that this was coming, the family were ‘heartbroken beyond words’.
Days later, Bradley’s Facebook page posted another update to say despite deteriorating, he ‘was fighting to stay with us’.
The tragic news will undoubtedly affect those who have been following Bradley’s story.
The incredibly brave, football-mad youngster touched the hearts of millions of people in his short life.
Our thoughts go out to the Lowery family at this incredibly difficult time.