The mother of Minnesota Timberwolves centre Karl-Anthony Towns has died due to complications from COVID-19 after more than a month of fighting the virus, the NBA franchise has revealed.
The Timberwolves made the announcement via the Towns family, which requested privacy. Karl Towns Sr, the father of the two-time All-Star player, was also hospitalised with the virus but has since recovered.
A native of the Dominican Republic, Jacqueline Cruz-Towns was a fixture at Timberwolves games from the start of Karl-Anthony Towns’ NBA career in 2015.
“Jackie was many things to many people — a wife, mother, daughter, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend,” the statement from the Towns family said. “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 expressed gratitude to the “warriors” at Penn Presbyterian Medical Centre in Philadelphia and JFK Medical Centre in Edison, New Jersey, the hospitals where she received care.
After his parents first felt ill at their home in New Jersey, Towns and his sister urged them to seek immediate medical attention and be tested for the virus. Towns posted an emotional video on his Instagram account on March 24, revealing his mother was in a medically induced coma while imploring people to stay home to help stop the spread of the virus. The East Coast has been hit particularly hard by COVID-19, with a death toll in New York state alone that has topped 10,000.
The Timberwolves expressed their condolences for the woman they considered part of their family.
“As Karl’s No. 1 fan, Jackie provided constant and positive energy for him and was beloved by our entire organisation and staff at Target Centre,” the team said.
Towns made a $100,000 donation to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for COVID-19 testing.