Remembering ‘Princess Lacey’: Forever A Spartan

Posted at 6:57 PM, Apr 09, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-09 18:57:44-04

EAST LANSING, Mich. (April 9, 2014) — Lacey Holsworth, the eight-year-old girl who was battling cancer and who became an unlikely friend of Michigan State University’s Adreian Payne, has passed away.

That is according to a post made by Lacey’s family on social media overnight:

“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 are broken. We love you Doll. Dance all night… Mommy and Daddy, Will, Mitchell, and Luke💞 #LoveLikeLacey”

There is a good chance fans have seen her throughout the past season, as Payne made sure to keep her close to his side.

In December of 2011 Lacey was temporarily paralyzed by a tumor that wrapped around her spine, while treatments eventually improved her condition, the cancer returned.

She got the chance to meet Payne about two years ago when the team visited the hospital. She and Payne eventually formed a bond and a friendship that inspired the nation as she walked out with her ‘superman’ as she called him on senior night and helped him cut down the net after the Spartans won the Big Ten Championship.

Statement from Tom Izzo on behalf of the MSU basketball program:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Holsworth family today.  Princess Lacey has taught us all an incredible lesson about love, strength and toughness. We can all learn from her on how to handle adversity with class and dignity.  She has become an inspiration to our team, our families, our university, and most recently our entire nation. At just eight years old, she has given us all a lifetime of memories.  We are all saddened today, but we are all better people for having known Lacey. Her smile and passion for life will live in the hearts of everyone she has touched across our country.”

Statement from Michigan State Senior Forward Adreian Payne:

“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.”

ESPN analyst Dick Vitale posted on his Facebook that he talked to Lacey’s dad Wednesday morning. He says he plans to donate $250,000 in her name for a research grant in fighting childhood cancer.

There is also a memorial service in the works for Lacey at the Breslin Center on April 17th, once we have more information on that we will bring it to you.