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Former Michigan State basketball star Adreian Payne dies at 31

Syndication: Lansing Rod Sanford | Lansing State Jour, Rod Sanford, Lansing State Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Former Michigan State men’s basketball player Adreian Payne has passed away, according to multiple reports on Monday morning. Payne was 31 years old.

Chris Solari of the Detroit Free Press confirmed the news after Jared Sullinger, a friend of Payne’s and former Ohio State basketball player, tweeted out the news on Monday morning.

Later on Monday, more details were released. Payne was shot in Florida during the early hours of Monday morning.

Payne was a two time second-team All-Big Ten forward with the Spartans. He averaged 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds in his senior year. He helped the Spartans win a regular season Big Ten championship in 2011-2012 as well as two Big Ten Tournament championships in 2011-2012 and 2013-2014.

Payne was selected with the 15th overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft to the Atlanta Hawks before being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves mid-season. After playing in Minnesota for three seasons, he then signed a contract with the Orlando Magic before heading overseas.

In Europe, Payne found success with the Greek Basketball League club, Panathinaikos, helping the team win the Greek Basketball Cup in 2019.

In addition to his accomplishments on the court at Michigan State, Payne is also remembered for his special relationship with Lacey Holsworth, an 8-year-old cancer patient who was known as “Princess Lacey.” She tragically passed away in 2014.

Update: Michigan State men’s basketball head coach Tom Izzo makes a statement on Payne’s death.

“I’m in shock at the tragic news of Adreian Payne’s death,” Izzo said. “Our prayers are with his family, teammates and loved ones.

“Adreian was loved by his teammates and coaches, who respected his development as a player and a person. He came to Michigan State with a ton of raw talent and put in the work to reach his goal of becoming an NBA player. Beyond that, he will long be remembered by Spartan fans for his kind heart, as his friendship and genuine bond with Lacey Holsworth touched the nation.

“Today is a difficult and sad day for the Spartan basketball family. Following graduation, Adreian regularly returned to East Lansing. In doing so, he developed and strengthened relationships with players from all eras. I’ve heard from many of those players today, each one experiencing heartbreak, and each one with their own fond memory of Adreian.”

Additionally, multiple former and current Michigan State athletes, parents, analysts and others close to the program, including Payne’s former teammates, have expressed their condolences and sorrow over his untimely and tragic loss on Twitter.