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'I love you so much, rest in peace' - Jermain Defoe's touching tribute to best friend Bradley Lowery

Former Sunderland footballer Jermain Defoe has posted a heartfelt tribute to Bradley Lowery on the first anniversary of his death.

The striker and six-year-old football fan struck up a special friendship after meeting at the Stadium of Light when Bradley acted as a mascot for his favourite team.

Related content: The heartwarming friendship between Bradley Lowery and Jermain Defoe

In the final months of his life, Bradley and Defoe made many special memories together and their friendship charmed football fans around the world. Last month, when the footballer was awarded an OBE, he dedicated the award to the Blackhall boy and his family.

Today, he remembered his best friend with a tribute on social media.

Read more: England pledge to give Bradley Lowery a result to be proud of in World Cup quarter-finals

Bradley at his sixth birthday party with best friend Jermain.

Bradley at his sixth birthday party with best friend Jermain.

Posting on his Twitter account (@IAmJermainDefoe) he said: "Today I want everyone to think about Brads, that beautiful smile that could light up any room, that amazing character and how loving he was.

"I miss you little man, but I still feel you walking with me in spirit every single day.

"What I'd do to have another day with you and have one of those cuddles.

"You changed my life and I'll never forget what you did for me.

The pair at the Stadium of Light.

The pair at the Stadium of Light.

"You are an inspiration and your legacy will last longer than us all.

"I know you're smiling down on us all and I love you so much. Rest in peace."

More on Bradley Lowery: 12 gorgeous pictures of our hero to mark a year since we said goodbye