A U.K. boy who touched the world of soccer and beyond in his battle against cancer succumbed to the illness.
Bradley, 6, had been suffering from neuroblastoma, a rare cancer that mainly affects babies and young children. He was diagnosed at 18 months.
“He was our little superhero and put the biggest fight up but he was needed elsewhere,” read a statement on his Facebook page. “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,” his parents wrote on the page.
Bradley was a fan of U.K. soccer club Sunderland, becoming the club’s mascot. He became friends with striker Jermain Defoe, and later, he led England out in a World Cup qualifier against Lithuania.
Well-wishers raised more than 700,000 pounds ($900,000) in 2016 to pay for treatment in New York, the BBC reported. Doctors found that his cancer had grown before informing his family that it was terminal.
On June 28, his health deteriorated.
“Bradley is deteriorating fast, his temperature is going very high his breathing very fast his oxygen levels low,” his family wrote. “He is sleeping most the time apart from odd times awake. We knew this was coming but we are heartbroken beyond words.”
This week, Defoe issued a comment. “He will always be in my heart for the rest of my life. We are there for the family, even going forward. It is difficult. I suppose it puts stuff into perspective,” he said, reported Sports Illustrated. “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 when he looks at me. It is special.”