Two years ago, Adreian Payne, star forward for the Michigan State Spartans basketball team, befriended a little girl at a hospital in Lansing.  For the next two years, he and the rest of the team treated her like a princess.  She is with the angels this morning.

It was a touching scene I won't soon forget.  Big Adreian Payne, senior leader of the Spartans, holding up little Lacey Holsworth, so she could help cut the down the net as the Michigan State basketball team celebrated winning the Big Ten tournament title in Indianapolis.

Since meeting her in a Lansing hospital two years ago, Payne was Lacey's older brother, friend, and shoulder to cry on when times got tough.  In return, Lacey became the Partens little princess, making them laugh, and most importantly, teaching them perspective in the stressful world of college sports.

Holsworth, from St. John's, lost her battle with a spinal tumor early this morning.

An Instagram account in the girl's name missprincesslacey posted this message around 3 a.m. "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."

Several Spartans have tweeted their condolences, but Payne has yet to weigh in, and certainly our thoughts and prayers are with him and the Holsworth family this morning.

The inspirational take away from this sad story, is that because Payne and the Spartans came into her life, her last few years on this earth were blessed with laughter, joy and the feeling of being a special princess.

Here's the original story about their friendship.