It comes with great sadness to report the passing of Jacqueline Cruz, mother of former Kentucky star Karl-Anthony Towns.
This afternoon, the Minnesota Timberwolves confirmed the devastating news that after a hard-fought battle with COVID-19, Jackie Cruz has passed away.
“The Towns family is heartbroken by the untimely passing of Jacqueline Towns due to complications as a result of COVID-19,” the statement read. “Jackie, as she was affectionately known among family and friends, had been battling the virus for more than a month when she succumbed on April 13th.
“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 Towns family is extremely grateful for the outpouring of love and support they have received during this very difficult time. They would like to thank the medical warriors at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center and JFK Medical Center, who fought for Jackie day in and day out, and helped Karl Sr. recover from the same virus that took Jackie’s life.
“The family is devastated by their tremendous loss, and respectfully requests privacy in this time of great mourning.”
— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) April 13, 2020
Nearly three weeks ago, Towns announced that after falling ill the week before, his mother was not only diagnosed with COVID-19, but had since been placed in a medically induced coma.
According to Towns, his mother’s condition slowly began to deteriorate as each day passed, with her temperature reaching as high as 103 degrees and falling no lower than 101.9 degrees with medicine.
“She was very uncomfortable,” he said. “Her lungs were getting worse, her cough was getting worse, she was deteriorating. … One day she was feeling great, we talked, and she felt she turned a corner. I thought she turned a corner. … Then they said she went sideways, things went sideways quick. Her lungs were getting extremely worse, she was having trouble breathing. They explained to me that she had to be put on a ventilator.”
Just a few short days later, Cruz was placed in the medically induced coma.
“It’s difficult, very difficult to say the least,” the former Wildcat said. “She’s the head of our household, she’s the boss. She’s been in a medically induced coma since that day. I haven’t talked to her, obviously can’t communicate with her. I’ve just been getting updates on her condition. It’s rough. … We’re going to keep fighting, me and my family. We’re going to beat this, we’re going to win.”
One week ago, UK head coach John Calipari told fans “Ms. Jackie” was still fighting for her life in the hospital.
“Ms. Jackie, Karl-Anthony Towns’ mother, is still in that hospital fighting. She’s there,” Calipari said in a Facebook Live video stream. “We get updates, every single day we get an update from Karl Sr. about how she’s doing from the nurses at the ICU.”
Most importantly, Calipari asked fans to continue to pray for her and send positive thoughts her way during this difficult time.
“Keep praying for her, send her unbelievably positive thoughts,” the Kentucky head coach said. “I can’t wait until she gets out of that hospital. It’s been a tough road.”
Prayers to Karl and the entire Towns family during this devastating time.