By Ashley Dunkak
CBS DETROIT – Ever since Adreian Payne met Lacey Holsworth in a hospital room two years ago, the Michigan State basketball star and the little girl fighting cancer had been fast friends, and Holsworth’s courage inspired not just Payne but the entire Spartans team, including head coach Tom Izzo.
Holsworth’s parents announced Wednesday morning that Lacey passed away, at her family’s home in St. Johns, Mich., with her mother and father holding her.
Prayers for her family, thanks for the inspiration she provided and testimonies of how she impacted lives have flooded Twitter since the news broke. Current and former Michigan State athletes have led the conversation.
For Branden Dawson, 144 characters would not be enough to express his feelings about the young girl.
Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. Words cannot explain how much pain we're all in. Lacey is a strong, dedicated, and driven little girl who inspired and touched many lives even my son's life. Lacey put a smile on all of our faces and we're gonna miss her a lot. She was special to our team and we're all gonna miss you Lacey! My heart goes to Lacey's family, our hearts are saddened by your loss and our thoughts and prayers are with you #RIP #we'regonnamissyou 🙌🙏 #Godslittleangel👼👸
“Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same,” Dawson wrote on Instagram. “Words cannot explain how much pain we’re all in. Lacey is a strong, dedicated, and driven little girl who inspired and touched many lives even my son’s life. Lacey put a smile on all of our faces and we’re gonna miss her a lot. She was special to our team and we’re all gonna miss you Lacey! My heart goes to Lacey’s family, our hearts are saddened by your loss and our thoughts and prayers are with you.”
Gary Harris, Kenny Kaminski joined in, and so did former Michigan State basketball stars Mateen Cleaves and Draymond Green.
Darqueze Dennard of the Michigan State football team also took to Twitter to talk about Lacey, as did many prominent media figures, including Dick Vitale, Jay Bilas, Jason King and Gregg Doyel.
Even former NFL star Jerry Rice expressed his sympathy at the young girl’s passing, and Michigan basketball sent condolences as well.
Lacey watched the Spartans play in the NCAA tournament this year, and she happily accompanied Payne to various events, from Senior Night to a dunk contest to the team’s banquet.
At that banquet, Izzo made a speech, the video of which is embedded below, and Izzo had Lacey beside him throughout it. He spoke about her impact on the Spartans, and it is not a video to watch at work if one does not want to cry in front of colleagues.
#LoveLikeLacey was trending on Twitter late Tuesday morning.