Bradley Lowery, the cancer patient who’d stolen the hearts of football fans across the world has died after his long and brave battle.
The six-year-old had battled neuroblastoma and had been reported as ‘no longer responding’ to treatment.
His family announced on their Facebook fundraising page that their beloved boy died in the arms of his heartbroken parents.
The family’s words read: “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 elsewhere.
“There are no words to describe how heartbroken we are. Thank you everyone for all your support and kind words. Sleep tight baby boy and fly high with them angels.”
The six-year-old Sunderland fan had battled the rare form of cancer from when he was 18 months old, and his bravery in battling the disease with a huge smile on his face added to his passion for football has touched millions around the world.
Bradley is a Sunderland fan and he appeared as a mascot in the game between Chelsea and his home club back in December 2016 after which he established a friendship with England striker Jermain Defoe.
The two became very close and Defoe often paid visits to Bradley at the hospital. In a media conference at his new club Bournemouth, he talked about the friendship with a boy that would “always be in my heart”.
“He will always be in my heart for the rest of my life,” he said. “We are there for the family, even going forward. It is difficult. It puts stuff into perspective.
“There is not a day that goes past where I do not wake up in the morning and check my phone or think about little Bradley because his love is genuine and I can see it in his eyes. It is special.”
A minute’s applause will be held in honour of Bradley ahead of Friday’s match between Sunderland and Bury Football club, with the players and fans paying their respects to the mascot and his family.