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Karl-Anthony Towns reveals he lost seven family members to COVID-19

The NBA star lost his mom, his uncle, and five other family members due to complications from coronavirus.

Karl Anthony Towns Getty Images

Karl-Anthony Towns held a press conference this weekend before kicking off his sixth season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and said this season will be “difficult” for him while he is grieving his family. The NBA star has kept a low profile from the media after the death of his mother from complications of COVID-19 earlier this year, and he revealed he has has lost six other family members to the virus.

“I’ve been through a lot, obviously starting out with my mom,” Towns said during a virtual conversation with members of the media on Friday (Dec. 4). “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 lost a lot of close family members, people who have raised me, I’m trying to get through that. I’m trying my best to keep my family safe, just like my mom. So I’m trying to keep my sister, the kids, my dad, out of harm’s way. I’ve seen a lot of coffins in the last seven months, eight months,” the NBA star continued. “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 basketball star was asked if getting back to the game would be a form of therapy for him to deal with his losses, but he said being back on the court would just make him miss seeing his mom on the stands during his games. “Honestly, no. I have seen things I’ve never been in a mentally good place since my mom went in the hospital. It’s getting harder and harder every day but the more I keep losing people, as the season keeps rolling,” he said. “I wouldn’t say it’s therapy for me at all. It’s going to be hard to play. It’s going to be difficult. It don’t think this will ever be therapy for me again but it gives me a chance to relive good memories I had, I guess that’s the only therapy I’ll get from it.”

The athlete shared an emotional video in March revealing that his mother Jacqueline Cruz-Towns was in a medically-induced coma after her complications from COVID-19. She died in April at the age of 58. The NBA star’s father, Karl Sr., also had the virus but he recovered. Towns explained that his reason for sharing such a personal video was to help others.

“I didn’t want people to feel the way I felt,” Towns said. “I wanted to try to keep them from having the ordeal and the situation I was going through. 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.”

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