Adreian Payne, a big man who starred at Michigan State and played four seasons in the NBA, died at 31 on Monday.
Chris Solari, who covers Michigan State for the Detroit Free Press, confirmed the news.
Payne died as a result of a shooting that took place at 1:30 a.m. in Florida, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office confirmed. Payne was shot in a townhome community in the Econ Landing neighborhood. He was rushed to the hospital but pronounced dead.
The suspected shooter, 29-year-old Lawrence Dority, remained on the scene and cooperated with authorities. Dority was arrested on a charge of first-degree murder.
The Ohio native played at Michigan State under Tom Izzo from 2010-14. Payne was Second-Team All Big Ten in his junior and senior seasons. During his final campaign with the Spartans, he entered the season on the Wooden and Naismith award watch-lists and proceeded to average 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.
Payne and Michigan State won Big Ten tournament titles in 2012 and 2014.
The former Spartan gained national notoriety when he befriended Lacey Holsworth, a young girl who inspired Michigan State’s basketball team before succumbing to nervous system cancer at eight years old in 2014.
“She helped me in a lot of ways,” Payne, who called her “Princess Lacey,” said at the time. “Me being able to spend time with her, take my mind off basketball, that’s good when you can do that.”
That year, Payne was selected 15th overall in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks.
During his four seasons in the NBA, Payne also played for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family during this difficult time,” Orlando Magic spokesman Joel Glass said in an email, per Click Orlando.
After leaving the NBA after the 2017-18 season, Payne played internationally in Greece, China and Lithuania.