Footballer Jermain Defoe has paid tribute to his “best friend” Bradley Lowery.
The six-year-old Sunderland fan died on Friday following a fight with neuroblastoma – a rare type of cancer.
The club’s former striker struck up a close friendship with the avid Black Cats fan and club mascot in the months before his death.
A tweet by the 34-year-old described Bradley as a “little superstar”.
It said the youngster’s “courage and bravery will inspire me for the rest of my life”.
He wrote: “Goodbye my friend, gonna miss you 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”.
Bradley, from Blackhall Colliery, County Durham, was diagnosed with the disease when he was 18 months old. He underwent treatment and was in remission, but relapsed last year.
His plight touched the lives of many, and well-wishers raised more than £700,000 in 2016 to pay for him to be given antibody treatment in New York.
But medics then found his cancer had grown and his family was informed his illness was terminal.
His death was confirmed on social media by his parents.
The posting read: “My brave boy has went with the angels today.
“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.”
Tributes have poured in to the football fan, including one from his beloved club which said: “Bradley captured the hearts and minds of everyone.”
The England football squad, for which Bradley was also a mascot, tweeted: “There’s only one Bradley Lowery.”