The family of football mascot Bradley Lowery have said his cancer has spread and he does not have long to live.
Lowery, the terminally ill Sunderland fan, who has neuroblastoma, is receiving end-of-life care at home. His family said they were “heartbroken”.
The six-year-old has received thousands of messages of support from around the world and become friends with Black Cats striker Jermain Defoe.
In a Facebook statement, his family said a scan had revealed new tumours.
It said: “Bradley had a scan on Monday and it showed what we feared. Bradley’s cancer is spreading at a very fast rate and he has now got lots of new tumours including in his lungs.
“The lump that was causing pain was originally thought to be an abscess has got bigger and they now believe it’s a tumour.
“We are heartbroken this is happening so fast.
“Bradley is now receiving palliative care at home. He is going for radiotherapy at the end of this week and next week, but this is to control the pain in the hope we get him comfortable.
“Lots of people keep asking ‘how long has he got to live?’ I can’t answer this as we don’t know, all we know is it’s not long.”
The family, from Blackhall Colliery in County Durham, also said they were hoping to set up a Bradley Lowery Foundation and that all money raised for him would go towards the new charity.
His birthday party last week featured fire-eaters, a funfair, marquee, jugglers and stilt-walkers, with Defoe and Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone there to celebrate with him.
Defoe also walked out with Bradley at Wembley for England’s World Cup qualifier with Lithuania in March.
Last year an appeal to send him Christmas cards ended with the youngster receiving 315,000.