Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns revealed in an emotional Instagram message early Wednesday morning that his mother, Jacqueline Cruz, is in a medically induced coma with complications from COVID-19.
Cruz has been in a hospital in New Jersey for more than a week. Last week, an Instagram account—since deleted—run by Towns’ father, Karl Sr., explained that he had taken Cruz into the hospital because she’d been feeling ill. In his social media post, Towns explained further.
“Me and my sister told her she needed to get checked for corona,” Towns said. “I don’t think anyone really understood what it was, you know with a deteriorating condition. She kept getting worse. The hospital was doing everything it can. I was doing everything I could. I still am. She just wasn’t getting better.”
Towns said that Cruz’s fever would hover around 103 degrees and drop to about 101 with medicine. Once the medicine wore off, though, the fever would spike back up. He said his mother was uncomfortable and that her lungs got gradually worse.
The family stayed positive, though. “(We) always felt the next medicine would help, the next medicine would help, this is the one that is going to get it done,” Towns said.
He added that there was a brief period in which Cruz appeared to be, “turning a corner.” He was able to have a good, clear conversation with her then. But the lung problems returned and she needed a ventilator to breathe. She began to get confused in conversations.
“She went sideways, things went sideways quick,” Towns said.
Towns Honored His Mother’s Dominican Heritage
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, who has tested positive for COVID-19, tweeted to Towns at 2 a.m. Eastern time, about an hour after Towns posted his message.
During his Instagram video, Towns did try to remain positive, but the emotional toll that the past week-plus has taken on him was obvious.
“I talked to her before she went there and told her I love her,” Towns said. “Every day, I tell her I love her. … She was telling me things I didn’t want to hear. It came to a point where it’s difficult in my family to say the least. She is the head of our household, she is the boss.”
Towns, in fact, honored his mother by turning down past opportunities to play for Team USA in international play. His father is African-American and his mother is from Dominican Republic, which made him eligible to play for the Dominican national team. He chose to play for the DR over USA Basketball out of respect for his mother’s heritage.
One of his goals, he told FIBA.com, has been, “Helping the national team grow and helping the development of basketball back on the island, but also competing in the Olympics with the Dominican Republic national team. But for now I’m just trying to represent my culture, the Dominican Republic and make my fellow compatriots proud of what I am doing in the best league in the world.”
‘This Disease is Deadly. It’s Deadly’
Towns said he wanted to go public with the condition of his mother to help make others aware of the consequences of COVID-19, that the disease is not to be taken lightly. Jacqueline Cruz has been holding on but unconscious since things, “went sideways,” Towns said.
“She has been in a medically induced coma since that day,” Towns said. “I haven’t been able to talk to her since that day.”
Karl Towns Sr., too, has been unable to see or talk to his wife. He has been tested for coronavirus, too, but Towns said the results did not come back. It’s one of the painful aspects of having a loved one deep in the throes of COVID-19—the patient remains in isolation, the family unable to be near.
The thrust of Towns’ message was to raise awareness of the consequences should the disease spread without all Americans taking necessary precautions.
“The severity of this disease is real,” Towns said. “This disease needs to not be taken lightly. 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. It’s deadly.”