The death of Bradley Lowery comes as a shock to Sunderland fans and all football lovers around the world. He died at the age of 6.
Bradley, a brave young football fan, was diagnosed of a rare form of cancer Neuroblastoma in 2013, and he never stopped fighting to live.
Neuroblastoma weakens the immune system; can cause fatigue, loss of energy, bone pain, jerky eyes, weakness in the legs, difficulty in urinating, breathlessness, and a swollen painful tummy.
This form of cancer is particularly after nerve cells.
About 100 kids in the UK suffer from Neuroblastoma, but the cause remains unknown.
Image shows Bradley Lowery in Sunderland colors.
Although Bradley made a surprise recovery from the illness, reports confirm he went into remission in July, 2016.
At that time, doctors notified his family that he had a few months to live, and the brave boy fought really hard to hang on for a while.
For his heartwarming smiles, the deceased will be remembered by football fans around the world, especially his idol Jermain Defoe, who’s Sunderland’s highest goalscorer.
Bradley was born in Blackhall Colliery, near Hartlepool, where he battled cancer for the most part of his childhood until the cold hands of death snatched him away on 7 July.
Image shows Bradley Lowery and his idol Jermain Defoe during a hospital visit.
“What a incredible child he’s my little hero. Jermaine Defoe is an absolute gentleman and exceptional guy!! If only love was a cure he would have been saved a million times over! There’s only one Bradley lowery. Keep fighting lil man,” a concerned Twitter user wrote in appreciation of Defoe’s commitment.
Bradley’s painful exit was well-planned to enable him spend his last days with cuddles and hugs from loved ones.
A few days before his passing, the 6-year-old’s family shared some pictures on his Twitter and Facebook pages.
One of the updates showed him cuddling his big brother Kieran, 15.
“My two boys, my world, my everything,” his mom Gemma captioned the post.
She made great efforts to keep supporters abreast of his condition and fast-deteriorating health.
The updates included one last wish from Bradley to have a bedside party with family and friends, a request which Sunderland players honored with respect.
“Thank you to Sunderland AFC you have been amazing for Bradley. Bradley had lots of fun with the boys and then fell asleep cuddling Jermain. #specialmemories #grateful,” reads a Facebook post from his family after a group of Sunderland players paid him a visit.
“The lads loved catching up with him!” the club responded via their website.
One soul-shaking picture shared on Bradley’s social media accounts showed him sleeping on Jermain Defoe’s arms.
Bradly had great love for Sunderland’s top scorer who reciprocated with everything he could offer the poor boy.
“Bradley loves Jermain Defoe,” a message on his Twitter account read last February. “He didn’t want him to leave today and fell asleep cuddling into him. #specialbond #bestfriends.”
Defoe read the message and quickly responded on his own account.
“Love you little man. #bestfriends,” the famous footballer wrote.
Little Poppy Moore told reporters Bradley was her ‘boyfriend’ because he is ‘so cute.’
Bradley’s family raised money to provide adequate treatment for him, even seeking help from medical professionals outside the United Kingdom.
Earlier this year, The Independent reported that Bradley received a total of £200,000 donation for his treatment at the end of a match between Sunderland FC and Everton, where he appeared as a mascot.
By the end of last year, he had reached a fundraising target of £700,000.
Last December, Bradley was awarded the Premier League’s Goal of the Month for scoring a penalty in the warm-up match before Sunderland’s home game against Chelsea.
Image: Bradley Lowery
Talking to a group of reporters about his relationship with Bradley, Sunderland player Jermain Defoe broke down in tears. They’ve been friends, even before they walked out hand-in-hand from the tunnel on that day he played a mascot.
“It has been difficult,” Defoe said.
“It has been hard because I’ve been keeping this in for so long, trying to be strong for my family and his family.
“I don’t really know how to put into words how I feel. It has been a special time having that relationship with Brad.
“I speak to the family every day, I was with them a few days ago and it was tough to see him suffer like that.
“I felt I was prepared for it after what I went through with my dad but it was so tough to see a kid of that age who has been going through this for so long and got to the stage where he is obviously struggling.
“I can say it is only a matter of days but he will always be in my heart for the rest of my life.”
The poor boy died just a few days after his bedside party with family and friends. He had to say goodbye no matter how hard it seemed, even to his girlfriend.
An update from his family reads: “Bradley has had a settled day, he is no longer responsive but we know he is listening to everything we say. He is fighting so hard it’s heart breakingfor us to watch.
“When the time comes there will be a update on his page first before anywhere else.
“Thank you for all your kind words and support.”
Smile my little superhero, may your pain be zero.
Track Smile For Bradley raced to No.3 on the iTunes chart following its release on June 23.