Lamar Odom, the former NBA star and reality TV personality embraced by teammates and fans alike for his humble approach to fame, was hospitalized on life support Wednesday, his ex-wife Khloe Kardashian by his side, after spending four days in a brothel.
Authorities have sought a warrant for blood evidence of drugs.
Hospital officials provided no immediate word on the condition of Odom, a 35-year-old former Los Angeles Laker and member-by-marriage of the Kardashian clan, who was found face-down at the Love Ranch Tuesday afternoon, according to brothel owner Dennis Hof.
But the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who visited Odom at the hospital Wednesday, said doctors believe he is recovering after being totally unresponsive Tuesday.
"Apparently, from what the doctor said, he was much better off today than yesterday. He at least has some responsiveness now," Jackson said.
Kardashian and some of Odom's childhood friends were by his side, and former Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant visited him last night, Jackson said.
"He's got tubes in him now but we felt inspired by his presence," he said. "We're just holding hands and hoping he can
Had difficult childhood
Odom emerged from a difficult childhood in Queens as one of the most promising basketball talents of his generation, and spent most of his 14-year NBA career in Los Angeles with the Lakers and Clippers, becoming a fan favourite and a beloved teammate of Kobe Bryant.
But the two-time NBA champion and Olympic medalist's successful basketball career and television stardom couldn't free him from his demons; and his life never free of struggle and tragedy, most tragically the death of his infant son in 2006. And after his made-on-TV marriage to Kardashian broke up in 2013, his behavior became erratic.
"He was polite and reserved"
Hof, who owns the Love Ranch and other legal brothels in Nevada, said Odom arrived alone Saturday and "spent time socializing with some of my girls," but wasn't seen taking any illegal drugs."He was polite and reserved, and he told multiple employees that he was there to get some privacy and spend some time relaxing," he said in a statement.
"He largely kept to himself, and at no time did he engage in any drug use in the presence of anyone in the house. He did drink alcohol from our bar, and was taking some herbal sexual enhancement capsules. At his request, he spent Monday evening alone in his suite," the statement said.
"He just wanted to get away, have a good time and relax," Hof told The Associated Press in a phone interview.
Hof said Odom was "happy, he was sleeping every night," while visiting, but two women went to check on Odom Tuesday afternoon after not hearing from him since early morning, and found him face down and unconscious.
"It's incredibly sad"
"It's incredibly sad," said Hof, who turns 69 on Wednesday. Hof is known for his own onetime reality show Cathouse, on HBO.
Authorities were called to the ranch in Crystal, Nevada, about 3:15 p.m. Tuesday Crystal, Nevada, for a report of an unresponsive man needing an ambulance, Nye County Sheriff Sharon A. Wehrly said in a statement.
Odom was stabilized and taken to Desert View Hospital in nearby Pahrump. They tried to airlift him from there to Las Vegas, but the 6-foot-10-inch Odom was too tall for the available helicopter, and he was driven about 105 kilometres instead to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center.
Odom's hospitalization was first reported by TMZ.
Odom, who won two NBA championships with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010, last played in the NBA in 2013, and saw recent reality TV fame through his marriage to Khloe Kardashian.
His whirlwind romance with Khloe Kardashian and their huge 2009 wedding was taped for the E! network, and Odom appeared on nearly two dozen episodes of "Keeping Up with the Kardashians." He also appeared on "Kourtney & Kim Take Miami," and his marriage was chronicled on the Khloe & Lamar show in 2011 and 2012.
Khloe Kardashian by his side
Kardashian filed for divorce in 2013, citing irreconcilable difference. Still, she has been by his side at the hospital since Tuesday evening, according to a person close to the Kardashians who spoke anonymously because she wasn't authorized to speak to the press.
The Lakers played an exhibition game in Las Vegas on Tuesday night, losing 107-100 to Sacramento. Kobe Bryant and Metta World Peace are Odom's only remaining teammates on the roster.
World Peace clearly was distraught about Odom's health after the game.
"There's not one word I could say that would make sense," World Peace told reporters, declining further comment.
Bryant left the arena without speaking to reporters.
Odom spent the best years of his career with the Lakers, winning two championship rings and the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year award in 2011.
After seven years in purple and gold, he was crushed in December 2011 when the Lakers attempted to trade him to New Orleans in a multiplayer trade for Chris Paul. He eventually went to Dallas in another deal, but was out of the NBA just two years later.
Troubles worsened after he left NBA
Some troubles that met Odom before and during his career appeared to worsen after he left the league, and included a no-contest plea to drunken driving shortly before his divorce.
Odom was suspended during the 2000-01 season for violating the NBA's anti-drug policy for the second time in eight months. During the 2010-11 season, a cousin he was close to died and Odom was a passenger in a vehicle involved in an accident in New York that killed a cyclist.
Odom played one season at Rhode Island before being drafted in the first round with the No. 4 overall pick by the Clippers in the 1999 NBA draft.
Born Lamar Joseph Odom on Nov. 6, 1979, in New York City, he was raised by his grandmother after his mother died of cancer when he was 12. His father was a drug addict.
In 2006, Odom's six-month-old son Jayden died from sudden infant death syndrome while sleeping in his crib in New York.
He has a daughter, Destiny, and a son, Lamar Jr., from a previous relationship.