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Bret Michaels Recalls Going Into ‘Insulin Shock’ at MSG Show (Exclusive)



Bret Michaels is looking back at a scary health incident.

In an exclusive conversation with PEOPLE ahead of a new A&E Biography series that looks at the rock star’s life and career, Michaels, 61, opens up about the time he went into “insulin shock” while he and Poison performed at Madison Square Garden for the first time.

“I completely went into insulin shock onstage,” he recalls. “I wasn’t feeling great. I was nervous. I wasn’t eating for two days before it.”

Detailing that he was also “so excited” to play the New York City venue given that he grew up on the East Coast, Michaels continues, “I got out there and went unconscious. I don’t remember any of it.”

He adds, “I remember entering the stage, and then it was blurry, and then I woke up and I was in the hospital.”

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Bret Michaels.

A&E Television Networks, LLC; Devin Yalkin


Michaels was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 6 years old. He was often in and out of the hospital as a child and had to have insulin injections multiple times a day.

After the MSG incident, Michaels came forward with his diagnosis to clear the air, as many speculated at the time he had been addicted to drugs.

In the years to follow, Michaels continued to face health setbacks, including in 1994, when he crashed his Ferrari into a telephone pole while racing friends, breaking his nose and several ribs.

Then, while exiting the stage after a performance at the 2009 Tony Awards, the rocker was struck in the head by a part of the descending set. Michaels sued and settled with CBS for an undisclosed amount in 2012.

A year after the set incident, while competing on Celebrity Apprentice, Michaels had an emergency appendectomy, a near-fatal brain hemorrhage and a stroke. (It’s unclear what caused these health issues, but diabetes can increase the risk of hemorrhage and stroke.)

Bret Michaels.

A&E Television Networks, LLC; Devin Yalkin


Michaels tells PEOPLE he has been on top of his health and has been doing great on his Parti-Gras 2.0 Tour.

“I wake up and the first thing I do is check my constant glucose monitor,” he says. “I check my blood sugar, and then I adjust.”

“I take an injection and then the next thing I do is I get up and — good, bad or indifferent, no matter how I’m feeling — I get into a workout routine, and it helps to level the blood sugar out,” continues the father of two.

“And then I jump into the fun and the business of the day, and just try to take every day like that,” Michaels adds.

Bret Michaels.

A&E Television Networks, LLC; Devin Yalkin


Michaels’ health, which is a large focus of the forthcoming A&E special, was important for the rock star to include, he tells PEOPLE.

“My life is a true series of roses and absolute thorns,” he says. “That’s my everyday life, and as a type 1 diabetic, I always had this attitude that I was not going to be a victim. This is the card I was dealt.”

Michaels says he wants viewers “to understand the adversity” of his life when watching the special. “Facing those adversities, along with the triumphs, that’s the real journey of life for me,” he explains. “In other words, everyone has their own adversities they face.”

“And I always say when I’m throwing the rock horns, it stands for stand strong, rock on and remain unbroken,” Michaels adds. “Just go out there and rock the world the best you can.”

Biography: Bret Michaels premieres on A&E on June 16 at 9 p.m. EST. It will be available to stream the following day.

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