Jesse Jackson’s claim that Odom improving causes conflicting reports
"Apparently from what the doctor said, he was much better off today than yesterday. He at least has some responsiveness now," Jackson said. "He’s got tubes in him now but we felt inspired by his presence. We’re just holding hands and hoping he can bounce back."
Jackson confirmed Odom was surrounded by family and friends including Kobe Bryant and Odom’s estranged wife Khloe Kardashian, who rushed to be by his side. "When he does wake up, he will see her right there in the room with him," Jackson said. "We certainly hope he comes out of this; it seems he will."
Jackson’s comments were picked up by multiple media outlets and led to headlines claiming Odom’s health was improving. TMZ, however, refuted Jackson’s claim that Odom was improving, reporting that he remained unconscious and unresponsive and had suffered multiple strokes and kidney failure. TMZ’s sources said Jackson had spent three minutes in Odom’s room, not 30 as the reverend allegedly told reporters, and that he was ushered out immediately after praying over him.
Jackson later clarified his comments, telling The Daily Beast that Odom is "a very sick man."
"He’s not communicating in the verbal sense," Jackson said, and added: "Apparently when he first got there he was totally non responsive. He’s responsive to a minor degree now … but he’s fighting for his life."
"There was the feeling hoping he’ll pull through," Jackson said. "I asked people to pray for him because he needs it now, and he deserves it. I hope (he’ll pull through). It’s a very difficult situation right now. All we can do is hope and pray. He’s such a source of inspiration to so many people."
Also on Wednesday, several outlets reported that though Kardashian and Odom both signed divorce papers in July, a judgment was never entered into court and thus their divorce was never finalized. That means the two of them remain legally married and thus, according to the reports, Kardashian is in charge of making all medical decisions for Odom.
"(Odom) never signed a living will, so Khloe is making decisions for him," a source told People Magazine, adding that the 31-year-old Kardashian "is lost."
TMZ reported Wednesday that the delay in the granting of divorce is due to "an extreme backlog in the family law courts," and that the divorce is not expected to be finalized for two more months.
TMZ also reported that Kardashian has "already made several" medical decisions on Odom’s behalf.
The Nye County Sheriff’s office held a news conference on Wednesday, during which time Sheriff Sharon Wehrly confirmed Odom is on life support. According to Wehrly, an employee at the brothel, Love Ranch, told 911 dispatchers that Odom was found unresponsive with fluid coming from his nose and mouth.
The caller said Odom had been doing cocaine and had taken up to 10 tabs of a sexual performance enhancer over three days. Odom bought the supplements, called Reload 72-hour Strong, at the brothel.
His one-month courtship of Khloe before their huge 2009 wedding was taped for the E! network, and Odom appeared on nearly two dozen episodes of "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" as well as other family spinoffs, including his own "Khloe & Lamar" show in 2011 and 2012.
Kardashian called him "Lam-Lam" and worried openly about him on the show. Even after they split up in 2013, cameras recorded her calling him and checking on his welfare.
People always seemed to root for Odom, whose prematurely weathered face wore the impact of his personal tragedies in a friendly way. And news of his hospitalization brought an outpouring of dismay and encouragement from his friends and family.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.