Lacey Holsworth, the 8-year-old girl who battled cancer and became friends with Michigan State University basketball star Adreian Payne, has died, according to posts on Lacey’s social media accounts.


The cancer-stricken girl befriended Payne when he visited the hospital while she was staying there two years ago.

When it was Adreian Payne’s turn to be honored during the Spartans’ Senior Night ceremony last month, he carried Holsworth around the court.

“She was tired that day,” Payne said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I just figured I’d pick her up instead of having her walk.”

He scooped her up again, taking her toward the top of a ladder as Michigan State celebrated winning the Big Ten tournament by cutting down the nets in Indianapolis, and he included her in his shot at the college dunk contest.

The little girl was affectionately known as “Princess Lacey” to most, and she had neuroblastoma - a fetal-nerve cell cancer. She wore a long, blond wig the majority of the time because she lost her hair during chemotherapy.

Back pain while dancing back in 2011 led to the discovery of a large tumor that had surrounded her kidney. Another tumor wrapped around her spine, and her father had to carry her into a hospital on Dec. 28, 2011. She lost feeling below her belly button and couldn’t walk on her own for quite some time. It was during that stretch of time that she met Adreian Payne.

While Holsworth had some victories in her battle, the cancer kept coming back and spread to her neck, head and pelvic region.