Girl who stole hearts of Spartan fans passes away from cancer

From Adreian Payne's Twitter feed in January: "@adorablelacey came over and we was playing the piano yesterday"

The little girl who stole hearts in mid-Michigan and around the country has passed away.

Eight-year-old Lacey Holsworth of St. Johns, Michigan was battling cancer. The little girl developed an unlikely friendship with Spartan basketball player Adreian Payne after he visited her in the hospital. She in turn would inspire the team as they made a run into the NCAA tournament.

Her parents released a statement around 3:00 am on her Instagram account. It said, "Princess Lacey has achieved the ultimate victory. She now dances among angels."

Lacey watched the Spartans play at Madison Square Garden last week.

Lacey's Twitter fans adopted the hashtag #LoveLikeLacey to spread her message of hope. Lacey had 31,000 followers on Twitter.

Full statement from Michigan State head 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." - Coach Tom Izzo on behalf of the MSU Basketball program.