Adreian Payne, ex-Michigan State basketball star, dead at 31

Former Michigan State basketball star Adreian Payne was shot and killed early Monday morning in Orlando, Florida.

A source confirmed Payne’s death to the Free Press on Monday morning.

Around noon, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in Florida announced it responded to a call at 1:37 am of a man who had been shot. Payne was transported to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Deputies arrested a suspect in the shooting, 29-year-old Lawrence Dority, at the scene on a warrant for first-degree murder.

Payne, a 31-year-old native of Dayton, Ohio, played for the Spartans from 2010-14 and earned second-team All-Big Ten honors his junior and senior seasons.

Michigan State forward Adriean Payne celebrates the Spartans' win against Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament along with Lacey Holsworth, age 8, as they hold one of the nets.

Perhaps his biggest legacy came as the 6-foot-10 forward befriended a young girl from St. Johns stricken with cancer, Lacey Holsworth, who became a fixture around the 2013-14 Spartans. Payne held her to help cut down the nets after MSU won the Big Ten tournament title in Indianapolis, and the story of their friendship became a major national story throughout the Spartans’ NCAA tournament run that ended with an Elite Eight loss to Connecticut. She died of complications from neuroblastoma a little more than a week after the season ended, and Payne paid tribute to the 8-year-old along with his teammates during an emotional tribute ceremony at Breslin Center.

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