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Sleep tight little one – Jermain Defoe in emotional tribute to 'best friend' Bradley Lowery

Jermain Defoe has posted an emotional tribute to young Sunderland fan Bradley Lowery, who died following a battle with cancer on Friday.

Bradley, aged six, was diagnosed with a neuroblastoma in 2013 and the Lowery family were informed their son's condition was terminal in December 2016.

Following this news, he appeared as mascot for his beloved Sunderland on numerous occasions and also for England in March's World Cup qualifier against Lithuania, when he entered the field alongside his favourite player, Defoe.

Defoe struck up an incredible bond with Bradley, regularly visiting him and continuing to do so after moving from Sunderland to Bournemouth.

The 34-year-old described Bradley as his best friend in an emotional tribute posted on Twitter.

"Goodbye my friend going to miss you lots," Defoe wrote on Saturday.

"I feel so blessed God brought you into my life, [I] had some amazing moments with you and for that I'm so grateful.

"I'll never ever forget the way you looked at me when I met you for the first time, the genuine love in those cute eyes.

"Really finding it hard to find words to express what you mean to me. The way you say my name, your little smiles when the cameras come out like a little superstar and the love I felt when I was with you.

"Your courage and bravery will continue to inspire me for the rest of my life. You will never know what a difference you made to me as a person.

"God has you in his arms and I will always carry you in my heart. Sleep tight little one. My best friend."