Jacqueline Cruz, mother of Wolves star Karl-Anthony Towns, dies of COVID-19 complications

The Minnesota Timberwolves announced Monday that Jacqueline Cruz, the mother of star Karl-Anthony Towns, has died from complications due to Coronavirus.

Cruz was hospitalized in intensive care and placed on a ventilator in a medically-induced coma in recent weeks after testing positive for COVID-19. Towns went to social media shortly after, and was emotional at times, over his mother’s health. He used his platform to tell the world to take the virus seriously.

She was 58 years old. Towns calls her "the rock of our family."

"This disease is real. This disease needs not be taken lightly," Towns said back on March 25. "Please protect your families, your loved ones, friends, yourself. Practice social distancing." 

Towns' father, Karl Towns Sr., also tested positive for Covid-19 at the same time as Cruz was hospitalized. He was able to recover and went home as she was placed in a coma.

Timberwolves officials say Cruz had been battling COVID-19 symptoms for more than a month before she died on Monday. The Wolves released a statement Monday on her death.

“Jackie was many things to many people – a wife, mother, daughter, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend. The matriarch of the Towns’ family, 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 family is devastated by their tremendous loss, and respectfully requests privacy in this time of great mourning.

“The Timberwolves organization is incredibly saddened to hear of the passing of Jacqueline Towns due to complications from COVID-19. In the four-plus years we were fortunate to know Jackie, she became part of our family. Her passion for life and for her family was palpable. As Karl’s number one fan, Jackie provided constant and positive energy for him and was beloved by our entire organization and staff at Target Center as she supported her son and the Timberwolves. The League, teams, and players have come together in their support of Jackie and Karl and we are grateful for our NBA family. We would like to thank all the doctors, nurses and medical personnel who cared for Jackie during her illness and all of Karl’s fans who sent their support this past month. Our deepest condolences go out to Karl and his family during this difficult time.”

Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas offered Towns and his family condolences Monday on social media.

"Heartbroken. Love, thoughts and prayers with Karl Towns and the entire Towns family. Jackie will be greatly missed," Rosas said.

Several pro athletes, and Towns' college coach, John Calipari at Kentucky, offered their sympathies on Twitter.

Before news of his mother's diagnosis became public, Towns announced he would donate $100,000 to the Mayo Clinic for research going into fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.