Basketball star who befriended child with cancer was shot to death on Monday

Eight years ago, Basketball star Adreian Payne was regarded by many as being a hero for his support of a young girl who suffered from terminal cancer.

However, Payne’s own life came to a tragic end earlier this week when he was cut down by bullets at the age of 31. 

Florida authorities arrest shooting suspect on first-degree murder warrant

MLive reported that Payne was shot at 1:37 a.m. on Monday morning and subsequently pronounced dead at a hospital in Orange County, Florida.

The man who authorities accuse of shooting him, 29-year-old, Lawrence Dority, was taken into custody by deputies from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office on a warrant for first-degree murder.

The website noted that Payne played for Michigan State between 2010 and 2014 before going to pursue a professional career in the NBA.

Payne began playing in 2015 for the Atlanta Hawks, after which he moved on to join the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Orlando Magic. He later played in various European countries.

Payne said young friend with cancer “taught me how to fight through everything”

In 2014, ESPN published an article about Payne’s relationship with Lacey Holsworth, an 8-year-old girl stricken with a rare form of cancer who was also one of his fans.

Affectionately known by the moniker “Princess Lacey,” Holsworth received regular visits from Payne in the hospital. She also helped Payne cut down the net following a Big Ten tournament win by Michigan State.

ESPN noted that Payne put out an emotional statement concerning Holsworth after she succumbed to her illness in 2014.

“Words can’t express how much I already miss Lacey,” Payne said of his late young friend. “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,” the athlete continued, adding that he was “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,” Payne recalled. “I know she’s smiling and dancing in heaven right now. My princess is now an angel.”

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