Lamar Odom, Clippers

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Lamar Odom was not in a good place before his hospitalization

As the former professional athlete continues to fight for his life, E! News now has further insight into Odom's mindset before he was found unconscious in a Nevada brothel on Tuesday following a drug overdose.

A source close to the 35-year-old ex of Khloe Kardashiantells E! News the last "few years have been very tough for Lamar."

The former Laker star's struggles with substance abuse began making headlines in the summer of 2013, and he was arrested for DUI in August of that same year. 

Khloe Kardashian Odom, Lamar Odom

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Months later, after numerous "interventions," Odom's wife of four years filed for divorce—a decision that was incredibly difficult for both parties to swallow. 

"If I had my way I would still be married to Lamar," the 31-year-old E! star admitted during a Nov. 2014 episode of Kourtney & Khloé Take the Hamptons. "Like even right now, today, I wish I was still married to him."

Likewise, the source says it was tough for Lamar to adapt to life without Khloé and he was understandably "heartbroken" after the demise of his marriage. 

Khloe Kardashian, Lamar Odom, Kardashian Wedding

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"He knows he was to blame and he can't escape that," the source says, adding that Odom, whose mother died at age 10 and father, Joe Odom, struggled with his own demons, "didn't just lose Khloé. "He lost her family as well." 

"He was always wanting to be in contact with her. It was hard to break that habit," the source says (an insider previously told E! News that Khloé had "cut off contact with Lamar earlier in the summer." Odom made headlines when he unexpectedly confronted his ex outside of SoulCycle class in August in Beverly Hills). 

Lamar Odom

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In spite of Odom's struggles, the athlete has always been known for being a genuinely nice guy.  

"Lamar is the sweetest, kindest, most generous person...anyone that ever comes into contact with him can't help but adore him," the source says. "He just has charisma, people are drawn to his warmth.

"He's fiercely loyal to his friends," the source continues (fans saw this on Keeping Up With the Kardashians as well the reality show Khloé & Lamar). "He's just an all-round good guy. He has never forgotten his roots, he doesn't have an ego despite his success, he has never changed as a person despite his circumstances."

Lamar Odom,

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Still, Lamar "has struggled. He has demons. And he can't escape them," the source reveals. "He says he wants to, he tries to make attempts to make different choices, and sometimes it works for a bit but he finds it hard to stay focused."

Odom's life was filed with tragedy. His 6-month-old son died in 2006 from SIDS (Odom has two other children, Destiny and Lamar Odom Jr., with ex Liza Morales), and most recently, his longtime friend and the best man at his wedding, Jamie Sangouthai, died of an infection from chronic IV drug abuse.

Lamar "tries to hide [his demons], he will go away for a bit, in a bid to protect the people around him," the source says. "The last thing he'd ever want is to hurt the people closest to him, but sometimes they are just too obvious. There was no denying his troubles." 

Our thoughts are with Lamar and his family and friends during this difficult time. 

For more on Lamar Odom's condition and how his loved ones are coping, tune into E! News at 7 and 11 p.m. tonight on E!

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