Jacqueline Cruz-Towns, the mother of Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, has tragically died following complications from COVID-19.
She was 58-years-old and had reportedly been battling the virus for the last month.
Towns’ father, Karl Sr. was also diagnosed with the virus and was hospitalized with severe symptoms; however, he has since slowly recovered and has been released from the hospital.
A statement from the Towns family reads, “Jackie was many things to many people — a wife, mother, daughter, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend. She was an incredible source of strength; a fiery, caring, and extremely loving person who touched everyone she met. Her passion was palpable, and her energy will never be replaced.”
The family also expressed gratitude to the “warriors” at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center in Philadelphia and JFK Medical Center in Edison, N.J., the hospitals where she received care.
Karl-Anthony Towns’ mom Jacqueline Cruz was placed on a ventilator
In recent weeks Cruz had been sent into intensive care where she was placed on a ventilator and in a medically-induced coma.
The Timberwolves posted the family’s statement to Twitter.
— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) April 13, 2020
The two-time All-star player took to Instagram in an emotional video on March 25, to warn people to take the virus seriously.
He said: “I think it’s important that everyone understands the severity of what’s happening in the world right now with the coronavirus, and I think where my life is right now could help, so I decided to do this video and give you an update of where I’m at.”
Karl-Anthony Towns urged people to practice social distancing
“This disease is real. This disease needs not be taken lightly; please protect your families, your loved ones, friends, yourself. Practice social distancing.”
Timberwolves’ President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas offered Towns and his family condolences Monday in a post on Twitter.
“Heartbroken. Love, thoughts and prayers with Karl Towns and the entire Towns family. Jackie will be greatly missed,” Rosas said.
— Gersson Rosas (@GerssonRosas) April 13, 2020
Karl-Anthony reportedly had a very close relationship with his mother; during his first season at the Timberwolves, Jacqueline did not miss a single game. This included going on all the road trips with the team.
Karl-Anthony has described his Dominican-American mother as the matriarch and the queen of the family.
Before news of his parents’ diagnoses became public, Towns announced he would donate $100,000 to the Mayo Clinic for research going into fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
The world of sport has been dramatically affected by the COVID-19 crisis, with most sporting leagues across the globe canceled. The NBA was the first league in America to suspend action last month after Utah Jazz All-Star Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19.