Karl-Anthony Towns

NBA star Karl-Anthony Towns revealed Tuesday night that his mother is in a medically induced coma after contracting COVID-19.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Jacqueline Cruz, the mother of former University of Kentucky standout Karl-Anthony Towns has died from complications of COVID-19, according to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Towns’ NBA team.

Towns announced his mother’s illness in an emotional video on March 24. She had been in a medically induced coma since that time, but her condition had not improved.

“Jackie was many things to many people – a wife, mother, daughter, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend,” the team said in a release. “The matriarch of the Towns family, 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.”

Cruz, 50, fell ill with the disease in mid-March, and Towns spoke of her ordeal in a social media post some days after, once she was sedated and put on a respirator.

“I told her I loved her. Every day I told her,” he said then. “. . . It’s been very difficult for me and my family to say the least. She’s the head of our household. She’s the boss. . . . It’s rough. And, day by day, we’re just seeing how it goes. I’m being very positive and keeping strength up for everybody in my family.”

Towns said he was making his video to impress upon people to take the threat of the virus seriously.

"People need to understand that the severity of this disease is real," he said. "This disease needs to not be taken lightly.  Please protect your family, your loved ones, friends, yourself. Practice social distancing. This disease is deadly. Me and my family are going to keep fighting this. We’re going to beat it. We’re going to win. I hope my story helps you. I send my love to all your families."

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