Earlier this week, an eight-year-old fan of the Michigan State University men’s basketball team passed away from an advanced stage of cancer. Lacey Holsworth, also known as “Princess Lacey,” captured many hearts from the men’s basketball team, especially that of Adreian Payne, senior forward for the Spartans.
In 2011, doctors discovered a tumor that had engulfed her kidney. After her tumor grew, she was hospitalized in December of 2011, and Payne visited her at Sparrow Hospital.
Payne shared a post on his Instagram account after Princess Lacey’s death.
“Words can’t express how much I already miss Lacey,” Payne said. “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.”
The bond that Payne and Lacy shared was special, and her parents recognized that. In an article written by ABC News, her father expressed his gratitude.
“It’s been great to open our eyes and see all the support, not only from MSU and the community, but basically the whole nation,” Holsworth told ABC News in an earlier interview. “We’re very grateful to be a part of that and happy to be a part of Adreian’s life.”
Princess Lacey was essentially the unofficial mascot for the Spartans this past season. She even helped Adreian Payne cut down the net after winning the Big Ten tournament in March. Along with that, Lacey and her family traveled to New York to attend Michigan State’s game against the University of Connecticut in the Elite 8, which they eventually lost.
She touched many lives in East Lansing. There were countless numbers of Facebook and Twitter posts the day of her death. One of them came from the star player on the Spartans who extended his condolences.
Everyone recognized that Princess Lacey was an intrinsic part of their team, even head coach Tom Izzo.
“She has become an inspiration to our team, our families, our university and most recently, our entire nation,” Izzo said Wednesday in a statement on behalf of the entire program. “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.”
Photo via The Detroit News