Jermain Defoe visits terminally ill Sunderland fan Bradley Lowery

Jermain Defoe Bradley Lowery
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The England striker, who has recently signed for Bournemouth, struck up a close bond with the youngster fighting neuroblastoma last season

Jermain Defoe has visited terminally ill Sunderland fan Bradley Lowery as his family says the youngster is having difficulty breathing.

Defoe, who recently signed for Bournemouth, has struck up a close bond with the six-year-old and chose him as the mascot to accompany him out on to the pitch when he earned a recall to the England team earlier this year.

Bradley is an avid Sunderland fan and kept in regular contact with Defoe, who scored 15 league goals in 2016-17, as he received treatment for a type of cancer called neuroblastoma.

His family was told the condition was terminal last year and an update posted on his Facebook page on Saturday says he spent time with friends and cousins at home as a "way of saying his goodbyes".

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"He is very weak and finding breathing difficult but he is fighting it," the post reads. "He insisted on having a party and he invited his cousins and girlfriend Poppy yesterday.

"They all laid on the bed having cuddles. I think it was his way of saying his goodbyes.

"Late last night his best friend Jermain came to visit him and it was so heartwarming seeing how Bradley reacted. He was so happy and laid for ages getting cuddles. Bradley was really relaxed with him."

On Wednesday, another status update revealed Bradley could have just "days" to live.

Defoe joined Bournemouth this week, leaving the Black Cats on a free transfer, but pledged to keep in touch with Bradley despite not being as close to his home near Hartlepool.

"The relationship I've managed to develop with Bradley and what I've brought to his life and what he's brought to mine has been really special," the 34-year-old said.

"It's just been sad to see him go through what he has been and he's only six. But I still feel blessed that I'm able to be in his life."