Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns revealed on Friday, December 4, that he has lost six more family members to COVID-19 since his mother, Jacqueline Cruz-Towns, died while battling the virus in April.
“I’ve been through a lot, obviously starting out with my mom,” he said, according to ESPN. “Last night I got a call that I lost my uncle. I feel like I’ve been hardened a little bit by life and humbled.”
“I’ve seen a lot of coffins in the last seven months,” the NBA star, 25, said. “I have a lot of people who have — in my family and my mom’s family — gotten COVID. I’m the one looking for answers still, trying to find how to keep them healthy. It’s just a lot of responsibility on me to keep my family well-informed and to make all the moves necessary to keep them alive.”
The athlete, who is dating Jordyn Woods, shared an emotional video on Instagram in March telling his fans that his mom was in a medically induced coma and had been placed on a ventilator due to coronavirus. She died on April 13 at the age of 58. Karl-Anthony’s father, Karl Sr., also had COVID but has since recovered.
Karl-Anthony posted an 18-minute video on YouTube last month about his final moments with his mom and his grief over losing her. He said on Friday that he posted the emotional clip because he “didn’t want people to feel the way I felt.”
“I wanted to try to keep them from having the ordeal and the situation I was going through,” he continued. “It just came from a place that I didn’t want people to feel as lonely and upset as I was. I really made that video just to protect others and keep others well-informed, even though I knew it was going to take the most emotionally out of me that I’ve ever been asked to do.”
Woods, 23, and Karl-Anthony went Instagram official in September while on vacation in Mexico. “I found you, then I found me,” the model captioned her photo.
In an interview with Extra later that month, Kylie Jenner‘s former best friend explained that she and the basketballer had been “friends for a long time” and “connected about losing a parent at a very young age.” (Her father, John Wood, died from cancer in 2017.)
As he prepares for his sixth season with the Timberwolves, Karl-Anthony admitted that it will be a challenge to go back out on the court without seeing his mother in the audience.
“It always brought me a smile when I saw my mom at the baseline and in the stands and stuff and having a good time watching me play,” he said on Friday. “It is going to be hard to play. It’s going to be difficult to say this is therapy. I don’t think [playing basketball] will ever be therapy for me again. But it gives me a chance to relive good memories I had.”
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