Lacey Holsworth, the 8-year-old cancer patient whose special friendship with Michigan State University basketball star Adreian Payne received national attention last month, has died (Twitter: @adorablelacey).
On Wednesday morning, ABC affiliate WXYZ in Southfield, Mich. reported that Lacey had passed away overnight. Lacey suffered from neuroblastoma, a cancer that develops in immature nerve cells. At one point she was paralyzed by a tumor that wrapped around her spine. While chemotherapy shrunk some of her tumors, others began to appear, according to the Associated Press.
Lacey’s family posted the following message on the @missprincesslacey Instagram account around 3 a.m. on April 9: “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 spunky 8-year-old, who used the Twitter handle @adorablelacey, was known for her trademark long blonde wig and standing by her “big brother,” Adreian Payne.
The two met in 2012, when the Michigan State basketball team visited the hospital where Lacey was being treated. Lacey’s parents say she and Payne became instant friends and formed an unlikely bond.
“They’re kind of like friends, brother or sister … They’re very comfortable around each other and play games and or color,” Lacey’s father, Matt Holsworth, told ABC News in March. “They have a bond that’s special.”
Payne quickly became part of the Holsworth family, and Lacey took to publicly calling him her big brother. Lacey could frequently be seen courtside at Michigan State basketball games, cheering Payne on. She was Payne’s companion at the team’s senior night and helped her best buddy cut down the net after MSU defeated Michigan in the Big Ten Conference tournament in March.
“She’ll say she has four brothers,” Matt Holsworth told ABC News. “We’re very grateful to be a part of that and happy to be a part of Adreian’s life.”
#LoveLikeLacey was trending nationally on Twitter on Wednesday morning.
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