NBA star Lamar Odom has woken up and spoken, says aunt
US basketball and reality TV star Lamar Odom has regained consciousness, speaking and even offering a thumbs-up from his hospital bed, days after being found in a critical condition at a Nevada brothel.
Alvina Alston, publicist for JaNean Mercer, Odom's maternal aunt and godmother, said he spoke a greeting and gave a thumbs-up on Friday morning, his first communication since being taken to hospital in Las Vegas on Tuesday.
A person close to Khloe Kardashian also said he was able to greet his estranged wife.
It is the first significant update to Odom's health since he was found unconscious at the Love Ranch in Crystal, Nevada, on Tuesday afternoon.
Authorities are still retracing Odom's 75,000-dollar (£50,000), three-day visit to the legal brothel that started on Saturday afternoon, with blood test results to determine what caused his medical episode still pending.
The brothel's owner and spokesman have said the NBA star 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 he is believed to have taken 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 on 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 found unconscious on Tuesday with white and reddish substances coming from his nose and mouth. He was breathing and taken to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Centre in Las Vegas.
Kardashian rushed to his side that night and since then, friends, teammates and loved ones have visited and posted messages on social media asking for prayers. On Wednesday, the Rev Jesse Jackson visited and said Odom was on life support.
The latest update on Odom's health condition comes hours after Ms Mercer and Kardashian started speaking out to thank fans.
Kardashian had said her family would not 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 blackout is a rarity for the family, who meticulously document their lives on various social media channels and on Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
Ms Mercer issued her own statement to thank the public for its support, saying the 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 said.
Ms Alston said Ms Mercer is the sister of Odom's late mother who helped raise him in New York, where she still lives. Ms 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 popular 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 drink-drive arrest.
Former Rhode Island basketball coach Jim Harrick said Odom is in "much improved" condition.
Mr Harrick said he had been in contact with Kardashian who told him Odom is off dialysis and his "kidneys are all right".
The coach said he plans to visit Odom in hospital next week, adding that Kardashian has been discouraging too many visitors because "it's like a circus".
Odom called Mr Harrick a couple of weeks ago, telling his former college coach that he was moving to Las Vegas.
"He had just worked out, he sounded upbeat. I thought when I hung up that he was in a good place."