Lacey Holsworth, who befriended Adreian Payne, has died - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Lacey Holsworth, who befriended Michigan State star Adreian Payne, has died

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Payne and Holsworth, seen here in a photo posted on Instagram. Payne and Holsworth, seen here in a photo posted on Instagram.
Holsworth was a regular around the Michigan State basketball program. Holsworth was a regular around the Michigan State basketball program.
EAST LANSING, Mich. (WJBK) -- Lacey Holsworth, the 8-year-old cancer-stricken girl who befriended Michigan State star Adreian Payne nearly two years ago, has died, according to her father.

Matt Holsworth says Lacey Holsworth died at their St. Johns, Mich., home late Tuesday "with her mommy and daddy holding her in their arms."

The Instagram account missprincesslacey posted the following message around 3 a.m. Wednesday:

"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"

Lacey and Payne met during one of her hospital stays two years ago and their relationship became a feel-good story.

"They communicate and hang out like a brother and sister," her father, Matt Holsworth, said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press last month. "It's a unique and special bond."

When it was Payne's turn to be honored during the Spartans' Senior Night ceremony in March, Payne carried Holsworth around the court.

"She was tired that day," Payne recalled. "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.

The little girl affectionately known as "Princess Lacey," suffered from neuroblastoma, a fetal-nerve cell cancer. She wore a long, blond wig because chemotherapy took her hair.

Back pain while dancing in 2011 led to the discovery of a football-sized tumor that had engulfed her kidney. After another tumor wrapped around her spine, 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 several months, a long stretch that included the first of many visits from Payne.

Matt says the memorial service for his daughter will be April 17 at the Breslin Center, the Spartans' home arena.

Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights re served. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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