The tragic news that Sunderland superfan Bradley Lowrey lost his battle with neuroblastoma and passed away on Friday evening is something that has come as a massive blow to anyone who was aware of his brave struggle.
After the severity of the situation saw Jermain Defoe reduced to tears on Thursday night it became clear that Bradley's situation was getting worse, but the news that nobody wanted to hear was confirmed this afternoon via the Twitter account set up by his parents.
My brave boy has went with the angels today 07/07/17 at 13:35, in mammy and daddies arms surrounded by his... https://t.co/AowNwemgh3
— Bradley Lowery (@Bradleysfight) July 7, 2017
For Sunderland football club, Bradley's big smile and close friendship with many of the players provided a ray of sunshine in an otherwise miserable time, and the young lad's bravery in the face of what is an unfathomably difficult situation inspired thousands to raise funds to help ensure less children have to go through what he did.
He will always by remembered by the club, and that is one thing they wanted to make perfectly clear as Sunderland released a moving statement shortly after the regrettable news confirmed.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Bradley’s parents, Gemma and Carl, his brother Kieran and their family and friends. We extend our love and support to them, now and always.
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. 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.
His heart-warming friendship with players and staff alike epitomised the impact this wonderful little boy had on everyone he met. He had a special relationship with Jermain Defoe and their feelings for each other were evident for all to see. Jermain, naturally, is heartbroken.
Bradley’s story not only touched our club and our fans, but also the wider football community. Football can be a powerful force for good and our sport came together to embrace Bradley’s fight in a unique way. We would like to extend our sincere thanks to every club and fan who supported Bradley in recent months and showed such warmth and kindness to the Lowery’s - we are truly grateful.
Throughout his illness, Bradley’s family and friends have worked tirelessly to increase awareness of this brutal disease. Their fundraising campaign, initially for Bradley’s treatment and subsequently to raise money for the foundation that will bear his name, will ensure that other youngsters and parents facing the devastation of life-threatening illnesses will have the help and support they so desperately need.
Bradley’s passing will have a profound effect on everyone and we understand that people will want to reach out to support the Lowery’s. We would kindly ask on their behalf however, that that they are given the privacy they need as a family at this most unimaginably difficult time. We will continue to support them in whatever way we can.
If you wish to donate to BradleysFight, which will continue to raise funds the battle against neuroblastoma, you can do so here.
Rest in peace, Bradley Lowrey.