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Adreian Payne, a former Michigan State basketball star known for his heartwarming friendship with a little girl who was fighting cancer, was shot and killed early Monday morning in Orlando.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the incident Monday, saying in an email to The Washington Post that deputies responded at 1:37 a.m. to a call that a man had been shot. The victim, identified as the 31-year-old Payne, was pronounced dead at a hospital; Lawrence Dority, 29, was arrested at the scene on a warrant for first-degree murder.

Court documents released Tuesday revealed Payne and his girlfriend tried to intervene in a domestic dispute between Dority and his girlfriend, at Dority’s girlfriend’s request, according to ESPN. Payne’s girlfriend, who was not named in the documents, said they had been called upon in the past to prevent disputes from getting physical.

Early Monday, the pair drove to Dority’s home, and Dority approached them outside, according to witnesses. A disagreement ensued, ending with Dority firing a single shot that killed Payne.

Dority claimed in a 911 call that he had been attacked by an intruder, but authorities on the scene determined Payne posed no immediate threat.

Payne, who was from Dayton, Ohio, played for the Spartans from 2010 to 2014 and drew national attention for his relationship with Lacey Holsworth. The 8-year-old Michigan girl was fighting neuroblastoma and struck up a friendship with Payne, who lifted her to help cut down the net after Michigan State won the Big Ten tournament title in 2014.

The two had met in 2011 when the Spartans visited her hospital and grew so close that Payne always referred to her as his “little sister.” He invited the girl, who became known as Princess Lacey, and her family to games and carried her onto the court during senior night game.

As the story of their relationship grew, the team advanced to the 2014 NCAA tournament’s Elite Eight before falling to eventual champion Connecticut. When Holsworth died of complications from the disease shortly after the season ended, Payne and his teammates saluted her memory in an emotional ceremony at Breslin Center.

Payne was the 15th pick by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2014 NBA draft and was traded to Minnesota during his rookie season. He appeared in 107 NBA games over four seasons, with his career concluding with the Orlando Magic in 2017-18.

After his NBA career ended, Payne went on to play in Greece, China and Lithuania.

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