Bradley Lowery cuddles up to Jermain Defoe as Sunderland players pay heartwarming visit

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The young Black Cats supporter was visited by a number of his idols this week as he continues his battle against neuroblastoma in hospital

Young Sunderland fan Bradley Lowery was paid a special visit by a number of Black Cats players Thursday and was pictured falling asleep with his arm draped over his hero Jermain Defoe in his hospital bed.

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The five-year-old's battle with neuroblastoma, a form of cancer, has captured the hearts of the footballing nation in recent months, with the youngster meeting a number of Premier League footballers and managers.

"Bradley is doing well and has cheered up after having some very special visitors," said a post on the Facebook page dedicated to Bradley's fight against neuroblastoma.

"Thank you to Sunderland you have been amazing for Bradley. Bradley had lots of fun with the boys and then fell asleep cuddling Jermaine. #specialmemories #grateful."

Defoe responded to Bradley's Twitter account, saying: "Love you little man #bestfriends."

Captain John O'Shea, Sebastian Larsson and Vito Mannone were also on hand to cheer the youngster up, with the latter writing an emotional post on his social media accounts.