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Sunday, August 30, 2015

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Lacey Holsworth, companion of Adreian Payne, dies


Senior forward Adreian Payne holds up the net with St. Johns, Mich., resident Lacey Holsworth, 8, on March 16, 2014, after the game against Michigan at the Big Ten Championship at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The Spartans defeated the Wolverines, 69-55. Erin Hampton/The State News

Spartans and MSU basketball fans are mourning the loss of 8-year-old Lacey Holsworth, who died early this morning after a long battle with cancer.

"Princess Lacey," who was from St. Johns, Mich., became one of the faces of the MSU men's basketball program after a friendship developed between her and former Spartan standout Adreian Payne.

The two met two years ago when Holsworth was in a hospital the basketball team was visiting. Holsworth had been hospitalized for neuroblastoma, a rare childhood brain cancer. 

The bond between the two became a national story, as Holsworth frequently attended Spartan basketball games, cheering on the team and her "brother."

Just last week, Holsworth was in Dallas, Texas cheering on Payne as he participated in a dunk contest that was held prior to the NCAA National Championship.

Holsworth had planned to be a judge for Greek Week's Songfest Wednesday night, but members of the greek community had heard from family members that she wasn't feeling well. 

This morning, Holsworth's family announced her death on her Instagram account: "Princess Lacey has achieved the ultimate victory. She now dances among angels... The world is a better place because you were in it. Our hearts our broken. We love you Doll. Dance all night.. Mommy and Daddy, Will, Mitchel and Luke #LoveLikeLacey."

The men's basketball team and MSU community responded on social media: