Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns said his mother is in the hospital and currently in a medically-induced coma as she battles COVID-19, an illness caused by a novel strain of coronavirus.
Towns made the announcement early Wednesday morning on his Instagram page, saying that his mother, Jacqueline Cruz, gradually got worse to the point that doctors put her on a ventilator and eventually induced the coma as she fights the disease.
“This disease needs not to be taken lightly,” Towns said. “Please protect your families, your loved ones, your friends, yourself. Practice social distancing. Please don’t be in places with a lot of people. … This disease is deadly. We’re going to keep fighting.”
Towns, who came close to crying multiple times in the video, said recently both his mother and father were feeling ill. Both went to the hospital and were tested for coronavirus, but his dad was released and told to quarantine while his mother remained in the hospital.
Towns' agent, Jessica Holtz told ESPN on Wednesday night that Karl Sr. tested positive for COVID-19 and is "recovering well."
A Wolves spokesperson said Towns' mother is hospitalized in New Jersey.
“She just wasn’t getting better,” Towns said. “Her fever wasn’t cutting from 103. It’d maybe go down to 101.9 with the meds then immediately spike back up during the night. She was very uncomfortable. Her lungs were getting worse, cough was getting worse. She was deteriorating in front of our eyes.”
“We always felt the next medicine would help or the next one would help. This is the one that’s going to get it done.”
Towns said he was in communication with his mother daily, and there came a point where it appeared she was finally improving, he said. But then, “things went sideways quick," he said.
“Her lungs were getting worse and she was having trouble breathing,” Towns said. “They were just explaining to me she had to be put on a ventilator. She was getting worse and she was confused by everything and I’m trying to talk to her about everything, encouraging her to stay positive. I talked through everything with her.”
Now, Towns, who donated $100,000 to the Mayo Clinic to help it ramp up its coronavirus testing efforts before his mom fell ill, said he is trying to maintain a positive attitude for himself and his family to get through this ordeal. He wanted to post the video despite his raw emotions to raise awareness of how serious coronavirus could be.
“My mother, she’s the strongest woman I know and I know she’ll beat this,” Towns said. “We’re going to rejoice when she does.”