Apr 9, 2014, 8:21 AM EDT
Lacey Holsworth, the eight-year girl that became famous for her friendship with Michigan State center Adreian Payne, has passed away after losing her battle with cancer.
She was eight years old.
“Princess Lacey has achieved the ultimate victory,” her family posted on her Instagram account. “She now dances among angels.”
Lacey and Payne’s friendship started when Payne visited a local children’s hospital, and the two became so close that Lacey was Payne’s escort on Senior Night. She cut down a piece of the net after the Spartans won the Big Ten title, she traveled with the team to New York for the East Regionals and she watched Payne perform in the college dunk contest on Thursday night in Dallas.
Here is Payne’s statement, released Wednesday afternoon: “Words can’t express how much I already miss Lacey. She is my sister, and will always be a part of my life. She taught me how to fight through everything with a smile on my face even when things were going wrong. I’m a better man because of her. She said she first liked me because of my smile, but it’s her smile that made America fall in love with her. I know she’s smiling and dancing in heaven right now. My princess is now an angel.”
Lacey was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in December of 2011.
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