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Adreian Payne’s Tragic Death at 31 Brings Tears to Fans


Former Michigan State standout Adreian Payne’s cause of death was released shortly after his tragic death on May 9, 2022. The basketball star was shot and killed early Monday morning in Orlando, Florida.

According to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, they responded to a report of a terrible shooting at around 1:37 AM and discovered Adreian suffering from a gunshot wound. Cops reported that Payne was transported to a hospital, but later died there.

A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office says Lawrence Dority, 29, was identified as the shooter. He was ultimately arrested on a warrant for first-degree murder and transported to the Orange County Jail.

Adreian Payne's death at 31

The heartbreaking news was first revealed on social media as players and former teammates posted about the loss of Payne, who played for the Spartans from 2010 to 2014.

Jared Sullinger – the former Ohio State Buckeyes star who played with Adreian at some point in their professional careers – announced the sad news via his Twitter page.

“Hate the news I received this morning…. Rest Easy to my brother/Teammate,” former Ohio State star Jared Sullinger Sr. wrote on Twitter.

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Adreian Payne’s Cause of Death Shocks Everybody

Adreian Payne’s cause of death was confirmed by Orange County Sheriff’s Office as they revealed he died in a shooting early Monday morning. May he rest in peace.

Adreian Payne whose full name was Adreian DeAngleo Payne was born on February 19, 1991, in Dayton, Ohio. He last played for Juventus Utena of the Lithuanian Basketball League. Adreian also played college basketball for Michigan State University.

Payne played school basketball for Jefferson High School and posted averages of 15.6 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 4.0 blocks as a senior. He led Jefferson to a Division IV state championship and a 19-5 record as a senior. The Dayton Daily News named Payne, first-team All-Area.

Adreian Payne's Cause of Death was Confirmed
Image Source: Springfield News-Sun

As a freshman, the young star averaged 2.5 points and 2.4 rebounds per game, playing in 34 games. The same year he was diagnosed with permanently reduced lung capacity, an ailment that affects his stamina.

He was named to the Second Team All-Big Ten, along with Michigan State teammates Gary Harris and Keith Appling. CBS Sports selected Payne to the preseason Third Team All-America.

The talented player was named to the Midseason Wooden Award Top 25 watchlist. He was twice named Big Ten Player of the Week.

In 2010, he became a massive star for the Spartans after arriving on the East Lansing campus. That year, Payne helped lead MSU to an Elite Eight appearance.

In 2014, the star went on to be taken by the Atlanta Hawks with the #15 overall pick in the NBA Draft. Adreian last played for Juventus Utena in Lithuania in the 2021-22 season.

He was perhaps mainly known for his relationship with 8 years old cancer patient Lacey Holsworth. Payne befriended Holsworth while at MSU, and they grew so close, that they referred to each other as brother and sister.

In fact, Holsworth – who sadly passed away in 2014 – joined Adreian on his senior night at Michigan State. He was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves on February 10, 2015, in exchange for a protected future first-round pick.

While starting in place of Kevin Garnett on March 9, 2015, he had a season-best game with sixty points, and fifty rebounds in an 89–76 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Adreian signed a two-way contract with the Orlando Magic on August 21, 2017. Under the stipulations of the deal, the player spent the majority of the 2017–2018 season with Orlando’s NBA G League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic.

Payne was waived by Orlando on January 26, 2018, after his name surfaced in an alleged sexual assault related to his freshman year in college. After the investigations, no charges were filed.

The news came out just days after David Birney’s Cause of Death was released. He sadly passed away on Friday, April 29, 2022, at his home in Santa Monica.

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Reactions to Adreian Payne’s Death

After the sad news of Adreian Payne’s death was revealed, his friends, teammates, and fans quickly flooded social media with tribute messages. Many fans also took to Twitter to pay Pigonant tributes to the 31-year-old player.

Famed college basketball head coach Archie Miller took to Twitter on Monday to pay touching tributes to the late player. He said that he is so sad to hear about the passing of Adreian Payne this morning.

Adreian Payne's Death at 31 was Confirmed

He continued: “Started watching him while he was in 10th grade, remember his grandmother on his visit. Loved seeing him develop at Michigan St. and become an NBA player. [Prayers] for his loved ones, Spartans, and Dayton, OH. #RipAP”

American college basketball analyst Jay Bilas expressed his sadness on Twitter and said that he is sad to hear that the former Michigan State star sadly passed away at the age of 31. He added that Payne was an outstanding player for Tom Izzo, and also befriended Lacey Holsworth through her tough battle with cancer.

One fan shared a photo of the late player and said that Michigan State fans remember watching Adreian dominate on the court, but ALL college basketball fans remember his special relationship with Holsworth.

“Damn i@ hearing Adreian Payne passed RIP King… I never forget me and Joe Mazz had him committed to coming to WVU lol ..he had a great visit.. damn 31 years old,” John Flowers tweeted.

American men’s college basketball coach, Arch Miller, said that he started watching Payne while he was in 10th grade, remembering his grandmother on his visit. He added that he loved seeing him develop at Michigan St. and become an NBA player.

Brandon Champion also paid a touching tribute to Payne and said that he was truly great Michigan State Spartan on the court, but I will remember him for this more than anything.

Ian Kress said that Adreian will always be remembered for his friendship with Lacey Holsworth, who passed away from cancer a few weeks after she and Adreian cut down the net in the 2014 Big Ten tournament. “Eight years later, the two are reunited,” he wrote on his Twitter account.

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