NBA star Karl-Anthony Towns says mom in coma after coronavirus symptoms

NBA star Karl-Anthony Towns says mom in coma after coronavirus symptoms
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NBA star Karl-Anthony Towns announced Tuesday that his mother has been placed into a medically induced coma due to what he believes is coronavirus.

Towns, 24, who was picked first in the 2015 NBA draft out of Kentucky by the Minnesota Timberwolves, implored his fans to take the virus seriously.

"This disease is real," he said in an emotional plea to his 2.8 million followers. "This disease needs not to be taken lightly. Please protect your families, your loved ones, your friends, yourself."

Towns was raised in New Jersey, which is second to New York as a state with the most recorded cases of COVID-19. It is not clear if his mother, Jacqueline Cruz, a native of the Dominican Republic, contracted the virus in New Jersey. 

"We always thought the next medicine would help," he said after Cruz visited her doctor before being admitted to the hospital. "The next one would help. This is the one that's going to get it done. This one will make sure to get it done."

Doctors eventually put Cruz on a ventilator before placing her in a medically induced coma.

"We're going to keep fighting on my side. We're going to win," Towns said. "My mother is the strongest woman I know, and I know she will beat this. And we will rejoice when she does."

The NBA season was stopped earlier this month and might resume over the summer.

New Jersey has recorded 3,675 cases of COVID-19 and 44 deaths, according to a New York Times tracker.