Thousands turned out to pay their final respects Friday for Bradley Lowery, the 6-year-old soccer fan whose cancer battle and friendship with former Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe garnered worldwide attention.
Lowery, who was diagnosed with the rare childhood cancer neuroblastoma, died last week. Defoe, who called Lowery his “best friend,” joined the family at a church south of Sunderland.
“He had a smile so big and beautiful it could brighten any room,” Lowery’s mother, Gemma, told the congregation (per the BBC). “A real brave superhero, he left us all too soon.
“He touched the hearts of many — the most inspirational boy. A loving, caring son and brother — a beautiful star.”
The streets near the church were lined with mourners, and mementos were left at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light.
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