Football mascot Bradley Lowery's battle for life is heart-breaking, says family
The family of terminally-ill football mascot Bradley Lowery have said he is no longer responsive and explained how it is "heart breaking for us to watch" as he fights to stay alive.
In the last few weeks the condition of the six-year-old Sunderland fan, who has the rare childhood cancer neuroblastoma, has deteriorated quickly.
On Wednesday, his family posted on Facebook: "Bradley is still fighting to stay with us. Nobody knows where he is getting the strength from or how he is doing it."
But, on Thursday, they updated his page, saying: "Bradley has had a settled day, he is no longer responsive but we know he is listening to everything we say. He is fighting so hard it's heart breaking for us to watch."
The post went on: "When the time comes there will be a update on his page first before anywhere else. Thank you for all your kind words and support."
On Saturday the youngster was visited by his "best friend" Jermain Defoe after his family threw him a party.
He had asked to have a party with his cousins and girlfriend and pictures showed him snuggled up to the football player.
On Thursday, Defoe broke down as he reflected on his special bond with Bradley at a press conference staged by Bournemouth to unveil their new signing.
The striker requested time to compose himself when asked about the six-year-old.
The two struck up a friendship when Bradley was a mascot for Sunderland while Defoe was at the club.
Defoe wiped away tears as he revealed it is "probably a matter of days" until Bradley loses his battle with the illness.
"It has been difficult. I have kept this in for so long," Defoe said.
"I have tried to be strong for my family and his family but I don't know how to put into words how I feel. It's a special time, having that special time with Brads."
He said: "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. It is special."
Bradley's family, from Blackhall, County Durham, have used social media to regularly update his many thousands of well-wishers around the world about his condition.