Karl-Anthony Towns’ mother, Jacqueline Cruz, dies from COVID-19

Karl-Anthony Towns speaks to reporters after being selected No. 1 overall in the 2015 NBA draft.
(Justin Lane / EPA)

Jacqueline Cruz, the mother of NBA star Karl-Anthony Towns, has died from complications of COVID-19, the Minnesota Timberwolves announced on Monday. She was 59, according to the Associated Press.

Towns said on March 24 that his mother had been put in a medically induced coma in an attempt to battle symptoms of a novel coronavirus infection.

The Timberwolves, for who Towns has played since he was the No. 1 overall selection in the 2015 NBA draft after one year at Kentucky, released a statement that his motherdied Monday.


The Timberwolves’ statement read in part:

“Jackie, as she was affectionately known … 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 statement said the family expressed their gratitude to “warriors” at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center in Philadelphia and JFK Medical Center in Edison, N.J., where she received care.

The two-time NBA All-Star said his father, Karl-Anthony Towns Sr., was treated in late March and released under mandated quarantine for COVID-19.

Towns had made a $100,000 donation to the Mayo Clinic in mid-March with an aim to increase coronavirus research and testing.


Towns posted an emotional video on Instagram after his mother was hospitalized.

“This disease needs to not be taken lightly,” Towns said in the video. “Please protect your families, your loved ones, your friends, yourself. Practice social distancing. Please don’t be in places with a lot of people; it just heightens your chances of getting this disease.

“And this disease, it’s deadly. It’s deadly. And we’re going to keep fighting on my side, me and my family, we’re going to keep fighting this.”

COVID-19 has claimed more than 23,000 lives in the United States, which has more than 570,000 cases. Around the world, there are 1.9 million cases and more than 118,000 deaths.