“I have horrible memory loss,” Lamar Odom tells PEOPLE

By Aili Nahas
May 16, 2019 09:00 AM
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It’s been three-and-a-half years since Lamar Odom overdosed in a Las Vegas brothel, and the former NBA star says he’s still living with the repercussions.

“I have horrible memory loss,” Odom tells PEOPLE in an exclusive interview.

“And my long-term memory was affected as well. Athletically, my balance is poo,” says Odom, whose new book, Darkness to Light — exclusively excerpted in PEOPLE — details his life of addiction. “I was shocked how weak my body became.”

It could have been much worse as Odom, 39, came very close to losing his life. In his book, he writes of the time leading up to the overdose.

“I decided to spend the weekend of Oct. 10, 2015, at the Love Ranch, a brothel in Las Vegas,” Odom writes. “The number of days that blended into nights that I’ve spent with a beautiful woman and a mound of drugs … My getaway weekend would be no different.”

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Continues Odom in the book: “On Tuesday morning, I lay on the floor in my room at the Ranch, dying. My body was convulsing. The women who kept me company screamed and called 911. I was taken to Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas. There was an unholy concoction of cocaine, cognac and cannabis coursing through my veins. My heart stopped twice. I had twelve seizures and six strokes. My lungs collapsed and my kidneys ruptured. I was on life support. Everyone I’d ever loved was looking at me through bleary eyes.”

Odom says he doesn’t recall much from those early days.

“Waking up [on Oct. 16], I was pulling the tubes out of my throat,” he tells PEOPLE. “And I was trying to talk but I couldn’t get the words out. That was the scariest part. And not being able to walk. I’m a big athlete you know?”

Odom says he can remember the support of ex-wife Khloé Kardashian, who, though they were separated at the time, immediately flew to Las Vegas when she heard the news.

“Khloé never left my side,” Odom writes. “She didn’t shower for days. Kim’s resiliency was incredible too. They put chairs together for her to sleep across at night.”

Kardashian’s rep did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

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Odom was eventually transferred to a hospital in Los Angeles, where he stayed until January, nearly three months after the overdose.

Now, the NBA champion says he’s drug-free, and though he admits that every day is a struggle, he’s grateful to be alive.

“[The overdose] made me realize I couldn’t live the way I’d been living,” Odom tells PEOPLE. “Life is too good.”

Darkness to Light is out May 28.