April 9, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State basketball lost one of its greatest supporters late Tuesday night (April 8), when Lacey Holsworth passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. In a relationship that first started away from the spotlight and cameras, and later was initially documented by Big Ten Network's "The Journey", Holsworth developed a special bond with Adreian Payne. Holsworth was at Payne's side on Senior Day, and then again as she helped cut down the nets after MSU's victory in the Big Ten Tournament. As MSU advanced through the 2014 NCAA Tournament, Holsworth captivated a nation as her story was told through numerous outlets, including Good Morning America and The Today Show. Just last week, Holsworth was in Dallas as Payne competed in the College Slam Dunk contest and then joined him as a celebrity judge for the high school slam dunk contest.
Statement from Michigan State Men's Basketball Coach Tom Izzo
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Holsworth family today.
"Princess Lacey has taught us all an incredible lesson about love, strength and toughness. We can all learn from her on how to handle adversity with class and dignity.
"She has become an inspiration to our team, our families, our university, and most recently our entire nation. At just eight years old, she has given us all a lifetime of memories.
"We are all saddened today, but we are all better people for having known Lacey. Her smile and passion for life will live in the hearts of everyone she has touched across our country."
Statement from Michigan State Senior Forward Adreian Payne
"Words can't express how much I already miss Lacey. She is my sister, and will always be a part of my life. She taught me how to fight through everything with a smile on my face even when things were going wrong. I'm a better man because of her.
"She said she first liked me because of my smile, but it's her smile that made America fall in love with her.
"I know she's smiling and dancing in heaven right now. My princess is now an angel."
Statement from Michigan State Athletics Director Mark Hollis
"Today, our Michigan State family mourns the loss of 8-year-old Lacey Holsworth. Our thoughts and prayers are with her parents, Matt and Heather, as well as her three brothers, Will, Mitchell and Luke.
"It's remarkable how many lives Lacey touched in her short life here on earth. She had a zest for living and was so courageous in her battle against cancer. Lacey impacted not only our Spartan basketball program but the entire University community. And through her special relationship with Adreian Payne, Lacey captured the hearts of many people throughout our state and nation. All people had to see was that radiant smile that could light up an entire arena.
"Our hearts are heavy today, but we'll never forget the life lessons Princess Lacey taught us."
Lacey Holsworth’s Life Celebration will be held Thursday, April 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the Breslin Center on the Michigan State campus. Parking will be free and doors open at 6 p.m. The family asks that attendees wear bright colors and smiles to celebrate Lacey’s life.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that people make a donation to charity of their choice in Lacey’s honor. Suggestions from the family include the Sparrow Foundation Pediatric Rehabilitation Fund (sparrowfoundation.org), or the purchasing of a brick with Lacey’s name for the City of St. Johns Spray Park (cityofstjohnsmi.com). People wishing to make contributions directly to the family can send them to PO Box 101 St. Johns, Mich. 48879.