Lacey Holsworth, the eight-year-old who befriended the Michigan State men's basketball team and center Adreian Payne while battling cancer, has died.
"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," read the Instagram post.
Payne and the Spartans first met Holsworth on a visit to a Lansing, Mich., hospital where she was being treated for the disease. According to the Detroit Free Press, a tumor had wrapped around Holsworth's spine and abdomen when the two first met. Her cancer appeared to be in remission but then returned, though Holsworth was Payne's escort on Senior Night and, despite suffering a recent seizure, she traveled to New York to watch Michigan State play in the NCAA tournament.
"If there's any way to go with dignity, she went (that way)," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo told 730 AM The Game in Lansing on Wednesday morning. "Sad but I'm also proud, if that makes any sense."
Michigan State players took to Twitter to express their thoughts as well.