Sunderland fan Bradley loses brave battle with rare cancer
Bradley Lowery, the six-year-old Sunderland football mascot whose battle with a rare form of cancer touched the hearts of people in Britain and worldwide, died on Friday.
The news was broken in a social media posting by his family which said: "My brave boy has went with the angels today. 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."
Bradley, from Blackhall Colliery in County Durham, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a disease that affects the body's specialised nerve cells, when he was 18 months old.
He became a household name after his parents Gemma and Carl documented his plight. As a Sunderland mascot he struck up a lasting friendship with his hero Jermain Defoe, the club's former striker.
In April Bradley was recognised by racing when he was given an unprecedented honorary 41st starting position by Aintree in the Randox Health Grand National.
His name appeared in the official racecard displayed with red and white silks with Defoe in the slot reserved for the trainer.
The write-up read: "Never happier than when playing with friends, Bradley loves Sunderland FC and his dogs Effie and Chase. Makes his Aintree debut."
Aintree tweeted: "Very sad to hear that Bradley Lowery has passed away. Our thoughts are with family and friends."