sport news Father of youth player Damary Dawkins who died of Leukaemia was delighted with ...

'It was a pleasant surprise': Father of youth player Damary Dawkins who died of Leukaemia was delighted with Raheem Sterling's tribute Damary Dawkins died on Sunday after he relapsed twice following a transplant England forward Sterling lifted his jersey after scoring his second goal on Friday The 13-year-old was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia aged nine

By Press Association Reporter

Published: 20:21 GMT, 23 March 2019 | Updated: 20:22 GMT, 23 March 2019

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Raheem Sterling's tribute on the pitch to a youth player who died of leukaemia was a 'pleasant surprise' to the family, his father said.

Damary Dawkins died on Sunday after he relapsed twice following a stem cell transplant shortly before Christmas.

England forward Sterling lifted his jersey after scoring his second goal in their match against the Czech Republic to reveal a picture of him and Damary.

Raheem Sterling paid tribute to youngster Damary Dawkins after he lost his leukaemia battle

Raheem Sterling paid tribute to youngster Damary Dawkins after he lost his leukaemia battle

The 13-year-old, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia when he was nine, played in Crystal Palace's development squad.

His dad Tony Dawkins told the Press Association: 'It was a pleasant surprise.

'I knew that they used to speak because (Sterling) came down to the hospital, they played pool together and apparently they swapped numbers.

'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.

'It was very, very touching and fitting. I know Damary touched his heart.'

Sterling and his partner Paige Milian posed with Damary's family at hospital back in November (L-R): Milian, his mum Nadine, Damary, Sterling, his dad Tony and sister Ptanmone

Sterling and his partner Paige Milian posed with Damary's family at hospital back in November

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