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  1. ITV Report

'He was our little superhero': Bradley Lowery passes away surrounded by family aged six

  • Video report by ITV News North of England Correspondent Damon Green

Inspirational football mascot Bradley Lowery, who touched the nation's heart with his joy of life despite untreatable childhood cancer, has died.

Bradley's mother Gemma announced his death at the age of six in a loving Facebook post.

"My brave boy has went with the angels today 07/07/17 at 13:35, in mammy and daddies arms surrounded by his family," she wrote.

"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."

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Bradley's battle against the rare cancer neuroblastoma became a national concern last year as a massive fundraising effort aimed at getting him to the US for pioneering treatment.

Sunderland fan Bradley became close friends with his hero Jermain Defoe. Credit: PA

But his devastated family announced at Christmas the cancer was terminal, whereupon they kept well-wishers up to date with the final months of his short life on social media.

The young Sunderland fan struck up a close friendship with the team's star striker Jermain Defoe following his diagnosis.

The now-Bournemouth player paid a tearful tribute to his young fan on Thursday, aware that Bradley's life was at an end.

The Premier League player, who was guest of honour at Bradley's sixth birthday party in May, said the little boy would "always be in my heart".

"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," he said.

The pair were seen snuggled up together at Bradley's home in Blackhall, County Durham last week.

Bradley was joined by Jermain Defoe and Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone at his sixth birthday party. Credit: PA

The little boy had a party in bed as a way of saying goodbye.

Bradley, who had been a mascot for Sunderland several times last season, found a place in the hearts of thousands of football fans around the world.

He was an England mascot at Wembley when Defoe scored on his return to the Three Lions side.

Bradley Lowery was a mascot for England's World Cup qualifier against Lithuania in March. Credit: PA

Sunderland paid tribute to Bradley as an "inspiration" as football clubs and players across the country reacted to news of his death.

"Bradley captured the hearts and minds of everyone at our club with his indomitable spirit, tremendous courage and beautiful smile, which could light up even the darkest of rooms," the club said in a statement.

"Despite battling neuroblastoma for much of his all too short life, he demonstrated a bravery and fortitude beyond his years that humbled us all. He was truly an inspiration."

Bradley saw his name in lights at home supporters shared their support at the Stadium of Light. Credit: PA
Bradley's received support from Sunderland fans throughout his final year. Credit: PA
The little boy joined his team on several occasions home and away last season. Credit: PA
Fans of rival clubs, including West Bromwich Albion, offered their support. Credit: PA