(The Frisky) -- When Michael Jackson died last summer, it kick-started a year with a disturbing number of celebrity deaths. Which is why we are so extremely overjoyed when a celebrity survives a life-threatening incident. Of course, we are referring to rocker/reality TV star Bret Michaels.
Over the past few months, Bret has had a series of extremely close calls. First, in mid-April, he was rushed to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy. Not two weeks later, he had a brain hemorrhage that left him in the ICU for more than a week. "I'm lucky to be alive," he told People at the time. But as soon as he was on the mend, he had a warning stroke. As doctors examined him to see what was up, they found that he also has a hole in his heart.
But just days later, Bret was feeling better and managed to make it to the live taping of the season finale of "Celebrity Apprentice." There, he triumphed over Holly Robinson Peete and walked away the show's victor. Seriously, this guy is unbreakable. He's scheduled for surgery for the fall to make sure his lover-boy heart keeps on beating. So what other stars have had near-death experiences? Answer: a lot of them.
What's better than having a brain hemorrhage, a warning stroke, a hole in your heart and still making it to the "Celebrity Apprentice" finale? Defeating testicular cancer and going on to win seven Tour de France titles. When Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with cancer in 1996, it had already spread to his lungs and brain. But with surgery to remove tumors and chemotherapy, he was able to beat the disease and return to cycling in 1999. Live strong, indeed.
Jason Priestley of "Beverly Hills, 90210" has cheated death on repeat. In 1999, while driving drunk, he crashed his Porsche. A few years later, he was involved in a serious boat accident. Then in 2002, he was in a pre-race crash on a Kentucky speedway that left him with a fractured spine and several other injuries. Here's hoping that's the last crash for Brandon Walsh.
Boy George was almost killed by, of all things, a disco ball. In 1999, Culture Club was rehearsing at a venue when a 62-pound ball snapped, falling and clipping George on the way down. He suffered minor injuries, but if he was standing a few feet over he could have been in big trouble.
Kanye West was in a nasty car crash driving home from his recording studio in 2002 at 3 a.m. His rental car was totaled, but he walked away with just a fractured jaw.
In 2005, Eminem came close to overdosing after taking an entire handful of methadone pills. His doctor said this was the equivalent of shooting up four bags of heroin. And this was on top of the 20 prescription pills he was taking a day. Last May, Eminem told Vibe he'd been sober for a year. Let's hope it stays that way.
Back in the 70s, Dustin Hoffman lived in New York City in an apartment next door to a member of the radical student anti-war group Weather Underground. The group was evidently making bombs in the apartment, and a stick of dynamite was accidentally set off. Luckily, Dustin had stepped out of his apartment at the time.
50 Cent was famously shot nine times in 2000 in Queens, New York, and lived to tell the tale.
Joaquin Phoenix was driving in Los Angeles when the brakes of his car gave out. His car flipped and he collided with another vehicle. Phoenix was helped out of the car by a passerby -- strangely, director Werner Herzog -- and was uninjured, thanks to his seat belt. A good reminder to buckle up!
In 1999, Martin Lawrence had a near-death experience. He was jogging in 100-plus degree heat to lose weight for a movie role and collapsed from heat exhaustion. He was in a coma for the next three days, but luckily managed to pull through.
While filming "The Passion of the Christ," Jim Caviezel was struck by lightning. Even stranger, the assistant director who was struck with him got hit by lightning again during the making of the film. Both were OK. But creepy.
Hugh Hefner revealed the moment he almost met his maker in the tell-all book "Mr. Playboy." Apparently, in 1977, while with Playmate Sondra Theodore, Hefner almost choked on a bedroom toy. He came close to passing out before Theodore allegedly dislodged the mysterious item.
In 1966, Bob Dylan was in a mysterious motorcycle crash near his house in Woodstock. He says he broke several vertebrae and that the near-death experience led him to lead a more reclusive life. But some have questioned the incident because, apparently, there is no record of an ambulance call to the crash.
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