The mother of NBA star Karl Anthony Towns, Jacqueline Towns, has dies due to complications caused by the coronavirus.
Towns' team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, confirmed reports of Jacqueline Towns' passing amid the COVID-19 crisis on Tuesday (AEST). She was 59, according to Minnesota's Star Tribune newspaper.
Statements were issued on behalf of both the Towns family and the team. The Towns family is "heartbroken" after the loss.
"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 13," the family statement said.
"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.
"The family is devastated by their tremendous loss."
The Timberwolves statement said: "Her passion for her family and life was palpable.
"As Karl's number one fan, Jackie provided constant and positive energy for him and was beloved by our entire organisation."
A raft of fellow NBA stars – including Chris Paul, Donavan Mitchell, Zach LaVine, John Wall and Tobias Harris – sent condolences to Towns via social media.
Timberwolves beat reporter Jon Krawczynski gave further insight into the family's pain.
The NBA has been shut down since last month due to coronavirus. The league's closure was triggered by a positive test from Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert.
Towns, 24, is a former No.1 draft pick and a two-time NBA All Star. He was born in New Jersey; his mother was Dominican and his father, Karl Towns Senior, is African-American.
COVID-19 FACT SHEET
How is coronavirus transmitted?
The human coronavirus is only spread from someone infected with COVID-19 to another. This occurs through close contact with an infected person through contaminated droplets spread by coughing or sneezing, or by contact with contaminated hands or surfaces.
What are the symptoms of someone infected with coronavirus?
Coronavirus patients may experience flu like symptoms such as a fever, cough, runny nose, or shortness of breath. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia with severe acute respiratory distress.
What is the difference between COVID-19 and the flu?
The symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu are very similar, as they both can cause fever and respiratory issues.
Both infections are also transmitted the same way, via coughing or sneezing, or by contact with hands, surfaces or objects contaminated with the virus.
The speed of transmission and the severity of the infection are the key differences between COVID-19 and the flu.
The time from infection to the appearance of symptoms is typically shorter with the flu. However, there are higher proportions of severe and critical COVID-19 infections.
How can I protect myself and my family?
The World Health Organisation and NSW Health both recommend basic hygiene practices as the best way to protect yourself from coronavirus.
Good hygiene includes:
- Clean your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser;
- Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissue or your elbow;
- Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms;
- Apply safe food practices; and
- Stay home if you are sick.
What is social distancing?
Social distancing involved minimising contact with people and maintaining a distance of over one metre between you and others.
When practicing social distancing, you should avoid public transport, limit non-essential travel, work from home and skip large gatherings.
It is okay to go outdoors. However, when you do leave home, avoid touching your face and frequently wash your hands.
If I'm young and healthy, do I still have to practice social distancing?
Yes. While older people are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, young people are not immune. People that show mild or no symptoms may still pass the virus to others, particularly in the early stages of the infection, before many patients realise that they are sick.