Jacqueline Cruz-Towns, the mother of NBA star Karl-Anthony Towns, died on Monday after a lengthy battle with COVID-19. She was 58.
“Jackie was many things to many people—a wife, mother, daughter, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend,” a spokesperson for the Towns family 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.”
In March, Karl-Anthony Towns posted an emotional video on YouTube revealing that his mother had been placed in a medically-induced coma as a result of the virus.
“I was told early last week my parents weren’t feeling well,” he said in the video. “My first reaction to [my mom] was to go seek medical attention immediately. [...] And after a couple of days of not showing any signs of improvement, I was very adamant on the first day to go to a hospital and seek further evaluation.”
He added, “She kept getting worse, she kept getting worse, and the hospital was doing everything they can.”
As the heartbreaking news began to circulate, the NBA community took to Twitter to offer their condolences.
While most of us didn’t know Jackie, much like our own family and friends, she was a consistent presence during significant moments in Towns’ life. It wasn’t uncommon to see her accompanying him at media appearances or comforting him after a hard-fought battle on the basketball court.
She was also right by his side when he committed to the University of Kentucky in 2014.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Karl-Anthony Towns and his family.