Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns revealed in an Instagram video early Wednesday morning that his mother, Jacqueline Cruz, has been hospitalized for the last week due to health complications stemming from what he believes to be COVID-19.
In the video, which is more than 5 minutes long, Towns said his mother had to be placed in a medically induced coma and has been put on a ventilator.
"I think it's important that everyone understands the severity of what's happening in the world right now with the coronavirus, and I think where my life is right now could help, so I decided to do this video and give you an update of where I'm at," Towns said in his video. "I was told early last week my parents weren't feeling well. My first reaction to her was to go seek medical attention immediately. There's no reason to wait, just go to the nearest hospital. And after a couple 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.
"Specifically, my sister told her she needs to get checked for corona. I don't think anyone really understood what it was, with deteriorating condition. She kept getting worse, she kept getting worse, and the hospital was doing everything they can."
The Minnesota Timberwolves today issued a statement regarding Cruz:
“The Timberwolves organization extends its support and prayers to Jackie and the entire Towns family during this difficult time. Jackie is a part of our extended family and we, along with the rest of the NBA and its fans, will fight this battle with the Towns family. We are proud of Karl’s commitment to helping others, most recently with his donation of $100,000 to Mayo Clinic to further testing for COVID-19. Our organization is supporting all of our players’ and staff’s families to ensure they are up to date on how to stay safe, and where the nearest testing facilities are located. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted by this pandemic.”
Towns said his mother was "never cutting" from 103 degrees, and that at best it would fall to 101.9 degrees with medication and then spike back up overnight. He said she "was deteriorating -- and we always felt that the next medicine would help. This is the one that's going to get it done. This mixture is going to get it done."
He said both of his parents were not feeling well over the past week and were tested for COVID-19, adding that his father was released from the hospital and is in self-quarantine while they await the results of his test. ESPN reported Wednesday night that Karl Sr. did test positive for COVID-19 and is "recovering well" while finishing up his quarantine, according to Towns' agent, Jessica Holtz.
As for his mother, Towns said she started to feel better in recent days before taking a turn for the worse.
"She was feeling great," Towns said. "We talked, and she felt she turned the corner; I felt she was turning the corner. I knew there was more days to come, but I felt that we were heading in the right direction. They said that she went sideways and things had went sideways quick. And her lungs were extremely getting worse, and she was having trouble breathing and they were just explaining to me that she had to be put on a ventilator. And she was getting worse, and she was confused by everything, and I'm trying to talk to her about everything and encourage and stay positive, just talk through everything with her."
In the video, Towns had to pause several times to compose himself. He said he had been in regular communication with his mother before she was placed in her coma and remains confident she will pull through.
"She's been in a medically induced coma. Since that day, I haven't talked to her, haven't been able to obviously communicate with her," Towns said. "I've just been getting updates on her condition. It's rough, and day by day we're just seeing how it goes. We're being positive; I'm being very positive. So I'm just keeping the strength up for everybody and my family.
"[My family] told me to make this video so that people understand that the severity of this disease is real. 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; it just heightens your chances of getting this disease, and this disease ... it's deadly. It's deadly. And we're going to keep fighting on my side, me and my family, we're going to keep fighting this. We're going to beat it; we're going to win."
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, who was diagnosed with coronavirus two weeks ago but recently said he was asymptomatic, took to Twitter early Wednesday to offer his support of Towns.