Raheem Sterling will cover all the costs for the funeral of Crystal Palace youth player Damary Dawkins.
The Manchester City and England forward supported the campaign by Damary’s family to find a suitable stem cell donor, and became close to the youngster who died of leukaemia aged 13 last month.
Sterling is due to attend the service in Dagenham on Friday.
“Damary was a special young man who touched a lot of lives, including my own. Positive until the end, he was an example to us all,” Sterling said.
Sterling paid tribute to Damary by lifting his England shirt to reveal a picture of the two of them together following his second goal in the 5-0 win over the Czech Republic last month.
Damary’s father Tony told the Press Association last month about the relationship between the player and his son.
“I knew that they used to speak because (Sterling) came down to the hospital, they played pool together and apparently they swapped numbers,” he said.
“I remember when Crystal Palace played Manchester City and they lost Damary put on his tracksuit with the Crystal Palace badge and took a picture to send to Raheem. They had banter with each other.
“(The shirt tribute) was very, very touching and fitting. I know Damary touched his heart.”
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