The Nine Lives of Bret Michaels

By Colin Bertram
|  Friday, May 30, 2014  |  Updated 4:19 PM EDT
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    Bret Michaels is proving to be the hardiest of aging rock stars - both in and out of the spotlight.

    Michaels abruptly ended a concert in New Hampshire Thursday night after suffering a medical emergency.

    Guitarist Pete Evick said on Michaels' official site that the musician was three songs into his set when he rushed from the stage. A crew member reported that the singer's blood sugar was extremely low. Michaels was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a child.

    Fans of the Poison frontman are no doubt worried about his health, but if 51-year-old Michaels has proven one thing in his long career, it's that he's a survivor.

    From his hard-partying years as a chart-topping rock icon to his appearances on reality television shows such as "The Celebrity Apprentice," Michaels has never strayed far from the public's eye. In his personal life, he has cheated death and sometimes serious injury enough times to liken him to the luckiest of felines.

    Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Poison became one of the biggest glam metal bands in the world, selling more than 45 million albums and having six top ten singles on the Billboard charts including the 1988 number one, "Every Rose Has Its Thorn."

    At the time, Michaels' admitted drug and alcohol consumption matched the heights of the band's success.

    On his way to an afterparty in Los Angeles in 1994 Michaels crashed his Ferrari into a telephone pole. Driving solo in the car, the singer incurred serious injuries including broken ribs, nose and several fingers.

    "I was just hauling ass and lost control of the car. That’s pretty much it. And, just, thank God that I didn’t hurt anyone but myself," Michaels told the Houston Press of the incident, adding "That was the first question out of my mouth to the police when I woke up, 'Did I hurt anyone?' You gotta remember, at this point I had broken my ribs, I was missing teeth, it wasn’t a pleasant picture. I wasn’t out there trying to be an idiot, we were just out there kinda racing, having fun and I just lost control of the car."

    Splitting his time between Poison and a burgeoning solo career, Michaels spent much of the late 1990s and early 2000s recording and touring. He also began to appear on reality television shows such as VH1's "Behind the Music" (1999), "The Making of a Rock Star" (2001) and "Nashville Star" (2003).

    From 2007-2009, he starred on "Rock of Love With Bret Michaels," a sister show to VH1's "Flavor of Love" starring Flavor Flav. In "Rock," 25 women competed for the chance to be Michaels' girlfriend. In 2010 it was spun off into "Bret Michaels: Life As I Know It," which followed the performer in his everyday life. Nine episodes were produced.

    It was during this latter period Michaels began enduring a string of mishaps and health scares that would see him in and out of hospital for almost two years.

    At the 2009 Tony Awards in New York City Michaels was hit in the head by a prop that was lowered onto the stage following Poison's performance of "Nothin' But a Good Time" with the cast of "Rock of Ages."

    He suffered a fractured nose and busted lip and at the time decided not to take legal action against the show's producers. According to Rolling Stone Michaels said of the incident, "There's no lawsuit. I'm not doing any of that. I'm taking the high road."

    In early 2010, Michaels was rushed to the hospital after suffering intense stomach pains, and an emergency appendectomy was performed. Weeks later he was once again admitted to hospital with severe head pain. Doctors discovered he had suffered a brain hemorrhage that left him with slim odds of survival.

    Concurrently, he was appearing in America's living rooms as a contestant on NBC's "The Celebrity Apprentice" alongside Sharon Osbourne and Cyndi Lauper.

    After successfully overcoming the hemorrhage, it was reported on his official website in April that Michaels had been "readmitted to the hospital this week after suffering numbness on the left side of his body." This time doctors discovered it was a minor stroke reportedly related to a newly discovered condition: Michaels had a hole in his heart. The hole, which doctors believed he had had from birth, was treatable and Michaels underwent successful surgery in 2011.

    Still weak from his hemorrhage recovery in the I.C.U., Michaels made it back to New York just in time to be told by Donald Trump that he had won "Celebrity Apprentice," and that as a result the American Diabetes Association would get a $250,000 donation.

    The brain hemorrhage incident in 2010 prompted Michaels to change his stance on the 2009 Tony Awards accident. He filed a lawsuit for unspecified damages against the Tony Awards and CBS claiming the accident had a direct relationship to his malady. In 2012, the parties announced that they had agreed to settle the lawsuit for an undisclosed amount.

    As yet Michaels has not directly addressed his falling ill during last night's concert in New Hampshire except for a thank you tweet from "Team Bret" to the paramedics who came to his aid:

    But if his past health scares and attitude to overcoming them are any indication, Michaels will be back, just as big, just as bold, and sooner than we think.

     

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