Nearly a thousand students gathered in mournful silence at the rock on Farm Lane to acknowledge passing of Lacy Holsworth, the 8-year-old Spartan basketball fan who grew to symbolize strength and perseverance for MSU fans.
After a battle with a rare form of brain cancer, Lacey died in her parents arms at her home in St. Johns at 11:13 p.m. on Tuesday night, according to MSU athletics spokesman Matt Larson. She was 8 years old.
What started as a student-made Facebook event grew to become a historic mourning for the MSU community, with head basketball coach Tom Izzo and many members of the team attending. Among them was former senior forward Adreian Payne, who befriend the girl two years ago after the two met at a hospital where she was recieving treatment.
“Princess Lacey” made national headlines during the past two basketball seasons for her friendship with MSU basketball forward Adrien Payne. She often referred to the 6-feet-10 senior as her “big brother.”
“Words can’t express how much I already miss Lacey. She is my sister, and will always be a part of my life,” Payne said in a statement Wednesday. “She said she 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.”