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Tributes have been pouring in after the news that Bradley Lowery, the little boy whose battle with childhood cancer captured the hearts of the nation, sadly passed away on Friday.
Bradley’s family announced the heartbreaking news on their Facebook page, saying the little boy passed away in his parents’ arms.
‘My brave boy has went with the angels today 07/07/17 at 13:35, in mammy and daddies arms surrounded by his family. 💔💔💔’, his mum wrote on Facebook.
‘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.’
The family also thanked everyone for their support throughout the difficult time: ‘Thank you everyone for all your support and kind words. Sleep tight baby boy and fly high with them angels.’
Tributes began pouring in after the announcement, with many celebrities sending their love to the family.
Leading the tributes was Jermain Defoe, who called Bradley – a huge Sunderland FC supporter – his best friend. Sharing a picture of them together on Twitter, the footballer wrote: ‘Really finding it hard to express what you mean to me. You will never know what a difference you made to me as a person.’
Stoke City player Charlie Adam also tweeted: ‘Thoughts are with the family and friends of @Bradleysfight today. He was a little fighter. Rest in peace.’
Sports presenter Gary Lineker called Bradley a ‘warrior’ and an ‘inspiration’ in his tribute message: ‘Terribly sad to hear that little Bradley Lowery has passed away. A warrior and an inspiration to the end. RIP Bradley.’
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also paid tribute to little Bradley, writing: ‘Heartbreaking to hear that Bradley Lowery has died. I’ll never forget images of Defoe & Bradley when he was Sunderland and England’s mascot.’
Bradley had been battling neuroblastoma, a very rare type of cancerous tumour that almost always affects children, since January 2013.
The six year old, whose story has captured the hearts of the nation, entered remission after treatment but sadly relapsed last year. Earlier this month his family were told he only had ‘weeks to live’.
His mum Gemma had been documenting his journey since the beginning as a way to raise funds for his treatment, regularly posting updates on how Bradley was doing.
Bradley with his parents at the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year awards
In one of her latest posts, she had revealed Bradley’s health was getting worse very quickly: ‘Bradley is deteriorating fast, his temperature is going very high his breathing very fast his oxygen levels low.
‘He is sleeping most the time apart from odd times awake. We knew this was coming but we are heart broken beyond words. We have been told he could be like this for days it just depends on him and his body.’
She also posted a picture of Bradley with his older brother, writing: ‘My two boys my world my everything’.
The picture struck a chord with many people on Facebook, who commented with messages of support for Bradley and his family.
One wrote: ‘You have to be the bravest mother that was ever created for this world. My heart is breaking for you and your family and no amount of sorrys or love can change it but please know you and Bradley are in everyone’s hearts right now.’
Another commented: ‘Oh how a picture can speak a thousand words 💔❤️ totally choked up.. incredible strength you all have even though I’m sure you won’t feel it right now! Your baby boy is one a million and will be forever.’
Throughout Bradley’s battle with the condition, which saw his cancer spread to his chest, lungs, lymph nodes, bone and bone marrow, the family managed to raise over £250,000 to have him treated abroad, as he wouldn’t be able to get treatment in the UK after relapsing.
Bradley with his favourite player Jermain Defoe, pictured on the pitch at the England v Lithuania match at Wembley Stadium
Bradley, a keen Sunderland FC supporter, captured the nation’s hearts and in particular striker Jermain Defoe’s – who visited Bradley in hospital and even joined him to celebrate his sixth birthday along with more than 250 family and friends in May.
Our thoughts are with Bradley’s family and friends at this difficult time.