Bret Michaels On His Numerous Health Scares: ‘It’s A Blessing In Disguise’

Bret Michaels is like a cat with nine lives, and when he stopped by Access Hollywood Live on Tuesday, he discussed the secret to his longevity.

The Poison frontman collapsed onstage at Madison Square Garden from a diabetes-induced attack during a performance in the ‘80s, survived a near-fatal car wreck in the ‘90s, underwent an emergency appendectomy in April 2010, and suffered a life-threatening brain hemorrhage a mere 10 days later. Now, the rocker is awaiting a final surgery to fix a hole in his heart that was found during his brain bleed trauma – a procedure that Bret is expecting to improve his current quality of life.

“I’m about 80 percent, 75 percent of where I know I can get to,” the singer told Access Hollywood Live’s Kit Hoover and Billy Bush. “Now, a lot of people have gone in, had this [heart] operation, and most of them are very successful, so I just keep my fingers crossed. But I’m going to feel a lot better than I do now.”

Bret’s traumatic brain hemorrhage, which happened suddenly as he was watching TV, put “life in prospective pretty quick” for the father of two.

“First of all, I’ve gotta give full credit to [longtime girlfriend, and mother of his two daughters] Kristi [Gibson] because she reacted so fast,” Bret told Billy and Kit. “The night I had the hemorrhage I was sitting just like this… and my brain literally blew up… When it happened, it’s called a thunderclap, but it sounds like a shotgun goes off inside your head.

“At that point, I knew something was really bad,” he added.

Fortunately, after three days in a coma, the “Celebrity Apprentice” winner pulled through and is thrilled to be “one of the survivors.”

“I think it’s a blessing in disguise because they found a lot of what was causing the mini-strokes and the TIAs and stuff,” he added of his brain bleed.

In related news, Billy asked Bret another question that’s been on everyone’s mind: Were the rocker’s chiseled abs on the cover of October’s Billboard magazine real, or airbrushed?

“They are real. No, they’re not airbrushed,” the 47-year-old said. “Here’s the deal though – that day, it was two days of not eating! You can see I’m scrunching [my muscles] up [in the photo]. Lets just say this: I’ve got a four-pack and a pony keg!

“When I was younger, that was a six-pack! I’m like ‘The Situation’s’ older, OLDER brother,” he laughed.

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