Jacqueline Cruz-Towns, the mother of Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns, has died due to complications from the coronavirus, her family said Monday.
She was 58.
“Jackie was many things to many people — a wife, mother, daughter, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend,” a Towns family spokesperson said in a statement. “The matriarch of the Towns family, she was an incredible source of strength; fiery, caring, and extremely loving person, who touched everyone she met. Her passion was palpable and her energy will never be replaced.”
Karl-Anthony Towns posted an emotional video to his Instagram page on March 25, revealing that his mother was in a medically induced coma and had been placed on a ventilator due to the virus.
In the nearly six-minute video, Towns said that both his mother and father had started to experience symptoms of COVID-19. Towns’ father, who also tested positive for the virus and was hospitalized, eventually began to feel better, but Jacqueline continued to struggle.
“She just wasn’t getting better,” Towns said in the video. “Her fever was never cutting from 103, maybe go down to 101.9 with the meds, then immediately spike back up during the night. She was very uncomfortable. Her lungs were getting worse, her cough was getting worse. She was deteriorating.”
In a separate statement Monday, the Timberwolves called Jacqueline her son’s No. 1 fan.
“Jackie provided constant and positive energy for him and was beloved by our entire organization and staff at Target Center as she supported her son and the Timberwolves,” the team said. “The League, teams, and players have come together in their support of Jackie and Karl and we are grateful for our NBA family.”
Other reaction flowed in from the basketball world on social media, including from Towns’ former coach at Kentucky, John Calipari.
Ms. Jackie was an angel and we were blessed to have her in our lives. I cannot imagine the heartbreak that @KarlTowns and Karl Sr. are going through right now but my hope is we can lift them up during this time and get them through this with our thoughts and prayers.— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) April 13, 2020
Man… thoughts and prayers with you and the entire family @KarlTowns ??— Chris Paul (@CP3) April 13, 2020
Thoughts and prayers to @KarlTowns and his family. Can’t believe it. RIP Mrs. Towns— Tyus Jones (@1Tyus) April 13, 2020
I’m so sorry @KarlTowns love you bro! Thoughts and prayer to your family.— Zach LaVine (@ZachLaVine) April 13, 2020
In an interview with ESPN in 2017, Towns said his mother worked for the medical department at Rutgers University for over 20 years. He has often talked about how close he and his mother were.
“The Towns family is extremely grateful for the outpouring of love and support they have received during this very difficult time,” the family’s statement continued. “They would like to thank the medical warriors at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center and JFK Medical Center, who fought for Jackie day in and day out, and helped Karl Sr. from the same virus that took Jackie’s life.
“The family is devastated by their tremendous loss, and respectfully requests privacy in this time of great mourning.”