EAST LANSING, Mich. (April 10, 2014) — The nation joins the Michigan State University community as they remember the little girl who became the Spartans men’s basketball team’s biggest fan.
According to the Detroit Free Press, MSU is tentatively scheduling a memorial service for Lacey Holsworth on April 17 at Breslin Center. The eight-year-old lost her battle with cancer late Tuesday night.
On Wednesday, the community gathered on campus for an impromptu vigil and memorial, with Lacey’s new big brother, Adreian Payne in attendance.
Earlier Wednesday, Payne issued the following statement via Instagram:
“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.”
At the memorial, head coach Tom Izzo also said a few words, as Michigan State’s unofficial message board, ‘The Rock’, sat with a new coat of paint that honors Princess Lacey.
You have likely seen her cheering for the MSU men’s basketball team during their run in the NCAA playoffs in March.
Her unlikely friendship with Adreian Payne has received national attention. The two met two years ago when the Spartans visited Payne in the hospital she was staying in. They quickly formed a bond.
Beyond the MSU community, ESPN announcer, Dick Vitale, said he plans to raise $250,000 for the Lacey Holsworth research grant through this “V Foundation.”