The 8-year-old cancer patient known as Princess Lacey, whose relationship with Michigan State basketball standout Adreian Payne captivated the nation has passed away.
Lacey Holsworth's parents announced her passing on her instagram account around 3 a.m. Wednesday saying: "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"
The Detroit Free Press reports Dick Vitale, who hosted Lacey and Payne at his annual Dick Vitale Gala to fight cancer last year, contacted Lacey's family this morning and offered to donate $250,000 in her name with a fund raising on his website.
Jay Bilas, the ESPN analyst who famously made Lacey his first "follow" on Twitter, tweeted "R.I.P Lacey Holsworth. A beautiful soul, whose strength and courage touched and inspired us all. Heartbreaking."
The Detroit Free Press reports head coach Tom Izzo talked with Payne this morning about Lacey's passing and said he "handled it with the class and dignity that she taught him."
Izzo released the following statement Wednesday:
"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." - Coach Tom Izzo on behalf of the MSU Basketball program.
MSU released the following statement from Adreian Payne 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."
Payne and Lacey formed a friendship during a team visit to Sparrow Hospital in Lansing where Lacey was being treated for a tumor that was wrapped around her spine, leaving her unable to walk.