Father: Girl befriended by hoops star has died

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FILE - In this March 16, 2014 file photo, Michigan State's Gary Harris, left, poses with the championship trophy as Adreian Payne kisses it after they defeated Michigan 69-55 in an NCAA college basketball game in the championship of the Big Ten Conference tournament in Indianapolis. Lacey Holsworth, who is battling cancer, smiles at right foreground. The father of 8-year-old Lacey Holsworth, who befriended Michigan State basketball star Adreian Payne says his daughter has died. Matt Holsworth says Lacey Holsworth died at their St. Johns, Mich., home late Tuesday, April 8, 2014, "with her mommy and daddy holding her in their arms."(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

DETROIT - The father of an 8-year-old girl with cancer who befriended Michigan State basketball star Adreian Payne says his daughter has died.

Matt Holsworth says Lacey Holsworth died at their St. Johns, Mich., home late Tuesday "with her mommy and daddy holding her in their arms."

Lacey met Payne during one of her hospital stays two years ago, and their friendship quickly blossomed and strengthened.

When it was Payne's turn to be honored during Senior Night, the 6-foot-10 center scooped up Lacey and carried her around the court. He did it again in Indianapolis after Michigan State won the Big Ten tournament, and the little girl with the blond wig was there when he took part in a recent slam-dunk competition.

Holsworth said Wednesday Lacey "loved unconditionally and without hesitation."

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