As the death toll of COVID-19 continues to accumulate, some families are bearing an especially horrific share of the pain.
Minnesota Timberwolves’ basketball player Karl-Anthony Towns, who lost his mother earlier this year due to complications from the coronavirus, revealed this weekend that an additional six members of his family have died from COVID-19.
“Last night I got a call that I lost my uncle. I feel like I’ve been hardened a little bit by life and humbled,” Towns said to members of the media on Friday, according to a report from ESPN.
“I’ve seen a lot of coffins in the last seven-eight months. I have a lot of people who have, in my family and my mom’s family, gotten COVID,” he added. “I’m the one looking for answers still, trying to find how to keep them healthy. It’s just a lot of responsibility on me to keep my family well-informed and to make all the moves necessary to keep them alive.”
In March, the athlete shared an emotional video revealing that his mother Jacqueline Cruz-Towns had been put in a medically-induced coma after her health began to rapidly deteriorate due to COVID-19. She later died on April 13 at the age of 58. Towns’ father, Karl Sr. also had the disease but recovered.
“It always brought me a smile when I saw my mom at the baseline and in the stands and stuff and having a good time watching me play,” Towns said on Friday. “It is going to be hard to play. But it gives me a chance to relive good memories I had.”
The tragic impact of COVID-19 on this one family should underscore to us all the reality and severity of this disease. Over 281, 000 thousand lives have been taken by the disease in the U.S. at the most recent count. As the months that we’ve been experiencing the pandemic continue to tick by, it can be easy to lose sight of the deadly and painful impact it is having on families like Towns’ all across the country—that it is stealing individual lives that matter immensely, especially to those who know and love them.
The strength of spirit it must take for Towns to continue going in the face of such losses is admirable, and the Timberwolves’ player credits some of this to the support of his teammates like D’Angelo Russell.
“I am very fortunate that I have people like DLo, who have been with me and my mom through some of the greatest moments of my life, especially in my career,” Towns said. “These guys make me take my mind off of the things that I have been dealing with and make me have to go out there and be a leader on and off the court.”
Towns will kick off his sixth season playing with the Timberwolves later this month.