BRAVE Bradley Lowery’s grandfather has died, following a short battle with cancer.

Little Bradley’s mother, Gemma Lowery, said “another piece of my heart has gone" after her beloved dad Howard Stonebank died with cancer.

Mrs Lowery from Blackhall, County Durham, announced on Facebook that her dad had passed away at 9.15pm on Friday night.Paying tribute to Mr Stonebank as her "hero and rock", she said the family takes comfort knowing he is out of pain and reunited with Bradley, with whom he was inseparable.

The Northern Echo:

Six-year-old Bradley, lost his fight to Stage 4 High Risk Neuroblastoma, a rare and aggressive form of childhood cancer, in July 2017.

The young Sunderland AFC fan touched the hearts of the football world when he made several appearances as mascot for the Black Cats, Everton and England.

His story transcended football rivalries.

Following Bradley’s passing, Mr Stonebank, a Newcastle United supporter, got two tattoos in tribute to his grandson.

The picture tattooed on one arm depicted Bradley in a Sunderland shirt, whilst the other was of Bradley in an England strip on the day he led out the national team with his hero and "best friend" Jermain Defoe.

The Northern Echo:

In an emotional post on the Facebook page for The Bradley Lowery Foundation, a charity set up in memory of the youngsters, Mrs Lowery yesterday wrote: "Last night at 21.15pm heaven gained another angel and another piece of my heart has gone.

“My dad, Bradley's grandad, my hero, my rock, passed away after a short battle with cancer.

“There are no words to describe how heartbroken we are as a family but we take comfort knowing he is out of pain and is reunited back with Brad.

“They were inseparable when on earth and I know they will be with each other now.

“I miss you already dad, I will always be your little girl and you will always be my hero.

“Look after grandad Bradley.”