(Adds reports of coma, People magazine quotes source on Khloe Kardashian, career background; adds byline, dateline LAS VEGAS)
By Jane Ross
LAS VEGAS, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Pro basketball and reality TV star Lamar Odom spent a third day hospitalized on Thursday, reportedly on life support following a series of strokes, after collapsing at a Nevada house of prostitution where authorities said he had been using cocaine.
With family and friends at his bedside and fans praying for his recovery, the estranged husband of Khloe Kardashian was reported to be comatose and in critical condition after he was found unresponsive at the Love Ranch brothel on Tuesday.
Celebrity news outlets TMZ.com and “Entertainment Tonight” reported on Thursday that Odom’s kidneys were failing and he has been placed on dialysis. Other outlets have said he had suffered several strokes, was breathing with the assistance of a ventilator and had only a 50-50 chance of recovery.
Brothel staff told authorities Odom had used cocaine and as many as 10 tablets of a sexual performance-enhancing supplement during his four-day stay there, the Nye County Sheriff said.
The 6-foot, 10-inch-tall (2 metre) forward has long been rumored to have struggled with substance abuse, and he was suspended during the 2000-2001 season for violating the National Basketball Association’s anti-drug policy.
“Entertainment Tonight” said Odom had briefly fluttered open his eyes on Wednesday night and may have squeezed the hand of Khloe Kardashian’s sister, Kim Kardashian, who was among those at the hospital.
The Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center in Las Vegas, where Odom, 35, was being treated, has declined to comment on his condition, citing patient confidentiality.
Odom’s estranged father, Joe Odom, the athlete’s two children from a previous relationship, and his ex-girlfriend were also photographed entering the hospital.
Odom split with Kardashian, 31, in 2013 after a whirlwind romance and marriage that was captured on the television show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and its spinoff series “Khloe & Lamar.”
Although the couple signed divorce papers in July, a Los Angeles Superior Court spokeswoman said the divorce has yet to be finalized and they remain legally married.
People magazine, citing a source close to the family, said on Thursday that Khloe Kardashian was given the task of making medical decisions about Odom’s treatment but was “overwhelmed” by the unexpected responsibility.
“She had been thinking of him as an ex, so to find out that, ‘No, you have to do this,’ well that’s really hard for her,” the magazine quoted the source as saying.
Despite Odom’s 14 seasons with the NBA, including two championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, U.S. media have largely focused this week on his brief membership in the most famous family on reality television.
ESPN sportscaster Scott Van Pelt took issue with the celebrity-skewed coverage, noting Odom’s accomplishments as a multiple NBA champion and beloved teammate.
“I understand not everyone watches sports, but ‘Kardashian reality star?’ His name is Lamar Odom, and we knew it, long before he got married on a TV show we don’t watch,” Van Pelt said on his “SportsCenter” show on Wednesday.
Kardashian’s mother, Kris Jenner, posted a photo of Odom in his Lakers uniform on her Instagram account, asking fans to “please pray for Lamar #ourfighter.”
Currently a free agent, Odom last played for the Los Angeles Clippers during the 2012-2013 season and is no longer attached to any NBA team. (Writing and additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Victoria Cavaliere in Los Angeles and Jill Serjeant in New York; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe, Andrew Hay, Grant McCool)