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Bradley Lowery’s best friend Jermain Defoe leads star tributes to the ‘brave’ six-year-old

The devastated football star says he'll always keep Bradley with him

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Jermain Defoe has paid tribute to six-year-old Bradley Lowery after he lost his battle with a rare form of cancer called neuroblastoma on Friday.

Posting on Twitter, the footballer wrote: “Sleep tight little one.”

The devastated player, Bradley’s best friend, wrote a long message to the lad saying: “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.”

Going on to say: “Your courage and bravery will continue to inspire me for the rest of my life.”

He ended the message: “I will always carry you in my heart. Sleep tight little one. My best friend.”

Gary Lineker, Piers Morgan, Scarlett Moffatt and Jacqueline Jossa were among those who also took to Twitter to express their sadness that the wee mite had passed on.

Bradley was diagnosed with the aggressive disease when he was just 18 months old.

As time went on tumours spread through his chest, lungs, lymph nodes, bone and bone marrow.

Sadly, in spite of major surgery and gruelling chemotherapy he wasn’t able to beat the cancer.

Bradley had a long battle with a rare form of cancer called neuroblastoma (Credit: Facebook)

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Gary Lineker said: “Terribly sad to hear that little Bradley Lowery has passed away. A warrior and an inspiration to the end. RIP Bradley.”

Piers Morgan posted a newspaper cover with the words “There’s only one Bradley Lowery. RIP.”

Meanwhile, Scarlett Moffatt wrote: “Sleep tight you brave angel. Sending all my love @Bradleysfight,”

EastEnders actress Jacqueline said: “Sleep well angel. Bradley you are such a brave boy! x”

Footballer Jermain Dafoe is said to be devastated about the death of the little boy, who was a mascot at Sunderland FC.

Before his death, Jermain broke down in a press conference as he spoke about the little fella’s brave fight.

“It has been difficult… It has been hard. I have kept this in for so long,” he said.

“I have tried to be strong for my family and his family but I don’t know how to put in words how I feel. It is a special time, having that special time with Brads.

“The first moment I met him and I could not believe he was the young kid who was ill because he ran over to me.

“From that moment, there was an instant connection.

“I knew he would be mascot but I hadn’t seen a picture and he just run over to me.

“His energy in the changing rooms. Bossing the other kids about. A great character.

“I speak to the family every day and I was with him a few days ago. It was tough to see him suffer like that.

Jermain visited Bradley days before his death (Credit: Facebook)

“I felt like I was prepared for it after what I went through previously with my dad.

“It was so tough to see a kid of that age going through it for so long. It got to the stage where he is obviously struggling. I can say it is probably a matter of days.

“He will always be in my heart for the rest of my life. What can I say? 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.”

Bradley and Jermain were close (Credit: Wenn)

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His devastated mum Gemma revealed the heartbreaking news in a Facebook post saying: “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.”