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Read the heartbreaking last message from Lacey’s family to Adreian Payne

Following the tragic death of former Michigan State standout Adreian Payne on Monday, the family of his beloved friend Lacey Holsworth released a statement on Twitter on Wednesday evening. 

Holsworth of St. Johns, Michigan, died in April 2014 after a battle with cancer that captivated the nation because of her special friendship with Payne.

"I can't believe this is happening. I'm shocked. I'm sad. I'm not surprised you were helping someone, you always were Superman," the message on Lacey's Legacy said. "I'm not surprised you were seeking peace, you always were a gentle heart. What shocks me the most is that out of everyone, you will see her first. Two angels unexpectedly met on earth and unexpectedly reunite in Heaven.

"One might be tiny and other might be big but both so strong and powerful. So different and yet exactly the same, driven always by LOVE. We know in our hearts we will see you again AP, but the loss everyone feels now is profound. Thank you for everything that you are to your family, to us, to Lacy, to the entire MSU family (go green) and to the world you inspired. 

"Until then, please give our Princess a hug, the kind that always made you smile because she wouldn't let go. May you always feel your family, may you always have a hoop to dunk on, and may you forever know the love and gratitude of the lives you touched. #longlivelove"

The friendship of Lacey and Payne was closely followed during Payne’s senior season and captured hearts beyond the basketball world. A feature on the Big Ten Network revealed the bond the two had, and he carried Lacey onto the Breslin Center court on Senior Day. Payne played for the Spartans from 2010-14

Holsworth died on April 8, just weeks after Michigan State’s season ended and two months before Payne became a first-round pick in the NBA Draft.

News of Payne's death began to circulate Monday morning on social media as several players and former teammates posted about the loss of the native of Dayton, Ohio.

Payne died in a shooting early Monday at 1:37 a.m., according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in Florida.

More: Lacey's family starts foundation to help other children

Lawrence Dority, 29, is accused in the shooting. He told police he felt threatened by the 6-foot-10 Payne and that he was “justified” in shooting the former NBA player.

According to an affidavit filed by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, said he was “intimidated” by Payne’s size and believed Payne had a weapon as they spoke near a car outside of a residence in Orlando. That’s when Dority said he went inside the home, retrieved a gun, and fired one shot at Payne.

Based on the investigation, the affidavit states Dority committed premeditated murder, and that probable cause exists to charge Dority with first-degree murder with a firearm.

Dority waived a formal pretrial arraignment Tuesday and entered a plea of not guilty

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