LOS ANGELES • Lamar Odom, a two-time National Basketball Association champion and reality TV star fighting for his life after a brothel binge, regained consciousness in a Las Vegas hospital and was speaking on Friday.
He gave a "thumbs-up" to the doctors and said a few words to them, a publicist for his aunt JaNean Mercer said.
The 35-year-old was hospitalised and had been on a life-support ventilator since Tuesday. He was found unconscious at the Love Ranch brothel outside Las Vegas.
Daniel Artest, a long-time friend of Odom and brother of Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace, tweeted that Odom "did a little talking (and) breathing on his own" after being taken off the ventilator. "Prayer really works!!!!!" tweeted Artest, shortly after describing Odom's condition as "still critical but stable".
Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly said officers, who had responded to an emergency call, were informed that Odom had used cocaine and sexual performance enhancement supplements.
An employee, who called 911, said Odom was unresponsive with blood and "white stuff" dripping from his nose and mouth.
Amid an outpouring of support from former NBA team-mates and with his estranged wife Khloe Kardashian at his side, he was reported to be making little progress on Wednesday and Thursday.
Some media cited sources as saying he had suffered at least one stroke and possible brain damage or other organ failure.
E! reported on Friday that Odom had opened his eyes, saw Kardashian at his bedside and said to her, "Hey, baby".
He gave her a thumbs-up sign before falling back to sleep.
Celebrity news website TMZ.com reported earlier in the day, citing unnamed sources, that cardiac tests revealed that Odom's heart function had much improved.
Kardashian and others in their celebrity clan posted matching statements on their websites.
They said they would take a break from publishing content on their various media platforms as they focus on his recovery.
"As a family, we've decided to hold off on publishing content across our apps while we continue to support and pray for Lamar," the statement said. "Thank you for your kindness and understanding during this difficult time."
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS