Death of 8-year-old 'Princess Lacey' sends shockwaves through college basketball community

An 8-year-old Michigan girl who was battling neuroblastoma, a cancer of the nerves that most often affects children and infants, died early this morning. 8-year-old Lacey Holsworthâ??s death has sent a shockwave through the college basketball community because of her special relationship with Michigan State Spartans senior forward Adreian Payne, and her infectious spirit.

Payne met â??Princess Laceyâ?? when he was touring a hospital where she was receiving treatment. The two instantly connected, and in the two years after that meeting, Princess Lacey became Payneâ??s number one fan. She took the court with him during senior night; he attended a fundraiser for her. She even helped Payne cut down the nets after Michigan State won the Big Ten tournament. Her life impacted so many in and around the Michigan State program, and that impact reverberated throughout college basketball.

Dick Vitale is donating $250,000 in her name for cancer research. ESPN analyst Jay Bilas posted this on his Twitter account: "RIP Lacey Holsworth. A beautiful soul, whose strength and courage touched and inspired us all. Heartbreaking."

Princess Laceyâ??s family posted this on their Instagram account at about 3 this morning: "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".

MSU Head Coach Tom Izzo talked to Adreian Payne early this morning about Laceyâ??s passing, and told USA Today how he handled the news. "Even though he knew this was inevitable, it's hard," Izzo said of Payne. "But he took it with the class and dignity that she taught him. I told him, 'Not everybody gets to touch somebody's life like you have. And sometimes other people impact your life, too.â??â??