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Footballer Jermain Defoe praises tragic ‘best friend’ mascot Bradley Lowery

Bradley died on Friday, surrounded by his family.

Premier League footballer Jermain Defoe has paid tribute to six-year-old mascot Bradley Lowery as his “best friend” and said he will continue to inspire him.

Bradley, whose battle with a rare childhood cancer captured hearts, died at home in Blackhall, County Durham, in his parents’ arms on Friday, surrounded by his family.

He struck up a close friendship with the England and Bournemouth striker who hugged Bradley when the boy joined the footballer as a mascot on the pitch ahead of matches.

A week before his death, Bradley and Defoe were pictured snuggled up together at the youngster’s home after the little boy had a party in bed as a way of saying goodbye.

Bradley was a mascot for his beloved Sunderland several times last season and struck up a remarkable friendship with the club’s top scorer Jermain Defoe.

The youngster was also a mascot for England at Wembley and saw the man he called his “best friend” score in a World Cup Qualifier against Lithuania in his comeback game.

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