Bret Michaels, Hardy by Nature

The eternal rock star Bret Michaels won't even let a few near-death experiences keep him down.

Despite a brain hemorrhage, mini-stroke, emergency appendectomy, and a hole in his heart, the diabetic rocker returned to NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice" on Sunday -- winning $250,000 for the American Diabetes Association -- and will continue with plans to tour this summer with his band, Poison.

VIDEO: Bret Michaels beats out Holly Robinson Peete to win Celebrity Apprentice.
Bret Michaels Wins 'Celebrity Apprentice'

"Bret is a very passionate person and refuses to live his life curled up in a ball," said Michaels' spokesperson, Janna Elias, in a press release Friday. "He wants to continue to live his life, enjoy every day and get back on the road," Elias said, but he will not take any "undo risks" on his speedy road to recovery.

Though Michaels credited his quick recovery to good medical care and a guardian angel in an NBC "Today Show" interview on Monday, the rocker's hardy spirit has a lot to do with his resilience, doctors and psychologists say.

VIDEO: A hole in the singers heart caused a sudden stroke.
Bret Michaels Back in Hospital

"Bret is very strong in hardiness," says Salvatore Maddi, a professor of psychology and social behavior at University of California, Irvine, who studies psychological hardiness.

Maddi says hardiness is a pattern of attitudes and coping skills that allows a person to turn into growth opportunities. He says hardy people not only handle stress with grace, but they thrive on it.

"I wasn't surprised at all when [Michaels] came back after the hemorrhage and won [on the Apprentice]," Maddi says, because he shows all the signs of being "strong in hardiness."

Bret Michaels on Oprah: Stroke Like a Gun Went Off in my Head
Bret Michaels Describes Brain Hemorrhage

In Recovery to Rock On

Michaels' went through a shocking series of health problems following an emergency appendectomy this April that has had him in and out of the hospital.

On April 22, ten days after his appendix was removed, Michaels suffered a subarachnoid brain hemorrhage, which led to potentially-fatal bleeding in his brain.

"Strokes are difficult, but brain hemorrhage is one of the problems that literally strikes fear into the hearts of doctors," says Emerson University neurologist, Dr. Wendy Wright. "He's certainly a tough cookie," she says, to be up and around so soon afterwards.

Video: Brett Michaels doctors hold press conference on his condition.
Bret Michaels released from hospital

Health Problems Mount for Michaels

Just last week, Michaels was forced to return to the hospital when he experienced numbness on his left side, according to a release on his website. He had suffered a transient ischemic attack, otherwise known as a warning or "mini" stroke, possibly due to a hole in his heart that was found shortly afterward.

This hole, known medically as patent foramen ovale, occurs in about 20 percent of the population but rarely produces symptoms.

When it does create a problem, doctors will consider blood thinners -- which Elias says Michaels is currently on -- and surgery to plug the hole, Dr. Robert Brown, chair of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, told

Luckily for Michaels, he added, he did exactly the right thing by seeking immediate medical attention.

Despite all these medical issues, Michaels not only returned to the "Celebrity Apprentice," but he won. Now he has his sights set on getting back to the rigorous schedule of a summer tour with his band.

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