Lamar Odom regains consciousness, family and friends say
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Lamar Odom has regained consciousness, and is communicating — speaking and even giving a thumbs up from his hospital bed — just days after being found in extremely critical condition at a Nevada brothel, loved ones said.
It's the first significant update on Odom's health since he was found unconscious and facedown at the Love Ranch in Crystal, Nevada, Tuesday afternoon.
Alvina Alston, publicist for JaNean Mercer, Odom's maternal aunt and godmother, said that Odom spoke a greeting and gave a thumbs-up Friday morning, his first communication since being hospitalized in Las Vegas.
"He woke up and he spoke," Alston said.
A person who is close to estranged wife Khloe Kardashian, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to release details of Odom's condition to the press, also said that he was able to say hi to Kardashian.
His former coach Jim Harrick in Los Angeles, who said Odom sounded upbeat on a call just a few weeks ago, said Kardashian told him that Odom is now off dialysis, and that he showed a response when she reached down to say "Lamar, I love you."
"Khloe has promised me she's going to stay by his bedside until she and him can walk out of the hospital together," Harrick said.
Authorities are still retracing Odom's $75,000, three-day visit to the brothel that started late afternoon Saturday, with blood test results to determine what caused his medical episode still pending.
The brothel's owner and spokesman have said that he chose two women to accompany him in a VIP suite on his first visit to the ranch. Odom had said that he had done cocaine before his arrival, and the brothel said they saw him drink alcohol and take as many as 10 supplements sold as "herbal Viagra." One brand that he took, Reload, was the subject of a 2013 warning from the Food and Drug Administration, which said the pill contained sildenafil, the active ingredient in prescription Viagra.
The brothel also said he became upset Sunday following a phone call where his ex's "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" show was mentioned. But he was generally in a good mood, even suggesting that he stay an entire week at the brothel in the rural community.
Odom was then found unconscious there Tuesday with white and reddish substances coming from his nose and mouth. He was breathing and taken to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas.
Kardashian rushed to his side that night and since then, friends, teammates and loved ones, including his two children, have visited and posted messages on social media asking for prayers. On Wednesday at the hospital, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said Odom was on life support.
Harrick also praised Kardashian for sticking by his side as a frenzy of people — well-wishers inside and media outside — crowded the hospital.
Friday's latest update on Odom's health condition comes as Mercer and Kardashian just hours earlier started speaking out to thank fans.
Kardashian had said her family won't be posting content on their apps while attending to his health crisis. The online message read: "As a family, we've decided to hold off on publishing content across our apps while we continue to support and pray for Lamar."
She also thanked fans for their kindness and understanding. The message was addressed to fans as a note from Kardashian on her blog-like app. Announcing a posting black-out is a rarity for the family, who meticulously document their lives on various social media channels and on the "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" television show.
Meanwhile, Mercer had issued her own statement Friday to thank the public for its support, saying they're family was focused on Odom's "complete healing."
"No words can express the overwhelming gratitude we feel for the outpouring of support from around the world," the statement issued Friday said.
Alston said Mercer is the sister of Odom's late mother who helped raise him in New York, where she still lives. Mercer and other family members are now in Las Vegas. The statement said: "His complete healing is paramount and our primary focus."
The former NBA star had been a beloved member of the Los Angeles Lakers, winning two championships with the team and enjoying widespread fame as a reality TV star himself before his recent downward spiral, which included leaving pro basketball, a pending divorce with Kardashian and a DUI arrest.
"He's one of the most wonderful, kind, humble and generous human beings you'd ever want to meet," Harrick said.
Harris reported from Los Angeles.