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Lacey Holsworth, Adreian Payne’s eight-year-old friend, loses her battle with cancer

Apr 9, 2014, 8:21 AM EDT

source: Getty Images

Getty Images

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.

  1. sarasotan - Apr 9, 2014 at 8:41 AM

    This is heartbreaking. She was just at the NCAA tournament last week, cheering for Adreian and Michigan State.

  2. ixdarexu - Apr 9, 2014 at 9:07 AM

    That from an Indiana fan

  3. greej1938l - Apr 9, 2014 at 9:09 AM

    Sad stuff. I hate even hearing about.

  4. 700levelvet - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:08 AM

    Thoughts and prayers to her family and this young man… I should only be so lucky to carry myself with such grace and dignity.. Truly sorry and I hope they can carry on… So sad

  5. ningenito78 - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    Wow. This one really hits hard. Jesus Christ. God bless her family.

  6. henryd3rd - Apr 9, 2014 at 12:31 PM

    God doesn’t make mistakes; so I’m sure it was her time to leave this world.

    • ranfan12 - Apr 10, 2014 at 10:28 PM

      I think they came out differently than you intended

  7. mtheparrothead - Apr 9, 2014 at 5:46 PM

    From a wolverines fan, it’s really hard to not like this guy. Tremendous basketball player, and apparently just as great a person. Hope Payne succeeds at the next level. Thoughts with the girls family.

  8. ctsports14 - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:17 PM

    There’s a long line in heaven waiting to greet this special young lady. Adreian, you’re a remarkable person. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and the Holsworth Family.

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