I’m A Survivor! Celebrities Who’ve Survived Near-Death Experiences

February 8, 2013  |  
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Regardless if someone is rich or poor, young or old, no one is immune from the grim reaper. Stars may live the glamorous life and seem to not have a care in the world but when tragedy suddenly struck these 15 celebrities, they learned first-hand how quickly everything could be snatched away within the blink of an eye.

Tennis star Serena Williams has dominated the courts for almost a decade but her career and life were in severe jeopardy a few years ago. Williams had to undergo emergency surgery when doctors discovered a blood clot in her lung. “I couldn’t breathe and I just thought I was out of shape, so I thought I needed to get on the treadmill or hit the gym,” the 30-time Grand Slam champion said. “It could have gotten a whole lot more serious a day or two later – it could have been really not good, possibly career-ending, but for the grace of God we caught it in time and I was able to recover.

Back in 2007 Eminem seemed to be on the top of the world due to his widely-successful career, but things came crashing down when the “Slim Shady” rapper woke up in the hospital after accidentally overdosing on methadone. “The doctors told me I’d done the equivalent of four bags of heroin,” the Detroit native admitted in an interview several years later. “They said I was about two hours from dying… I knew I had to change my life. But addiction is a tricky thing. I think I relapsed within…three weeks? And within in a month it ramped right back to where it was before. That’s what really freaked me out. That’s when I knew: I either get help, or I am going to die.”

Going home for the holidays is normally a joyous occasion, however Sandra Bullock nearly lost her life while traveling back home in December of 2000. The “Blind Side” actress was flying home to Jackson Hole, WY, on a twin-engine plane when it skidded off a slick runway and split apart. Bullock, her then-boyfriend musician Bob Schneider and two crewmen thankfully walked away nearly untouched. Coincidentally two years before the accident, Bullock starred in “Forces of Nature,” a romantic comedy about two strangers who met after their plane skidded off the runway.

Kanye West is one of the biggest stars now, but back in 2002, the Chicago producer/rapper came close to losing it all. West was involved in a terrible car accident that left him with a jaw broken in three places. The “All Of The Lights” rapper had to have his jaw wired shut while the bones healed. Not one to give in to adversity, West turned his tragedy into triumph with “Through The Wire,” a song he wrote and recorded two weeks after the accident. West opened up about how quickly everything could be taken away. “I am about to hand you the world, just know at any given time I can take it away from you. To nearly lose your life, to nearly lose your mouth, your voice, your whole face… But I have to just thank God for the situation that I am in.”

Brooke Burns became a household name bouncing on the shores of the Los Angeles beaches, but the “Baywatch” star nearly lost her life in the water. Burns broke her neck diving into the swimming pool of her Los Angeles home in 2005. The former fashion model hit her head on the concrete bottom, breaking her neck and blacking out underwater. Luckily, Burns was not paralyzed and credits this to a quick-thinking friend who was also present. “He is the only paramedic fireman that I know,” says Burns. “He saw me dive in, and he wrapped a wet towel around my neck and basically immobilized me and floated me in the pool until the paramedics came, so he saved my life. If I had been with anyone else that tried to move me, I would be at least half paralyzed if not completely paraplegic.”

While the rest of the world watched footage of the thunderous waves of a tsunami wreak havoc across numerous Asian countries in 2004, Petra Nemcova was clinging on for her dear life. The model was staying at the Khao Lak resort in Thailand with her fiance, photographer Simon Atlee, when the deadliest tsunami in modern history struck. Nemcova almost drowned but held on to a palm tree for eight hours screaming in agony because of the pain of broken pelvis and internal injuries sustained. She was luckier than Atlee who was swept away in the forceful currents from the Indian Ocean. More than 200,000 people perished in the disaster.

Sean Kingston spent part of the Memorial Day Weekend in 2011 enjoying the warm water and weather, but the day quickly turned tragic for the “Beautiful Girls” singer when the jet ski he and his female passenger were on crashed into the side of a bridge. Kingston spent 10 days in the ICU with a torn aorta, broken jaw, fractured wrist and water in his lungs. “My face was in the water and that’s what crushed my lungs, because there was so much water,”Kingston said of the accident. “It feels great, it’s a blessing. God is great. For me to still be here it’s only God’s work.”

Actress Sharon Stone came very close to death in 2001 when she almost died from internal bleeding due to a tear in the back of her skull. After suffering from the agonizing pain of a crippling headache, the “Basic Instinct” actress was admitted to d spent eight days in the hospital when doctors found out she was suffering from a subarachnoid hemorrhage. Stone opened up about how this near-death experience has affected her. “When it hit me, I felt like I’d been shot in the head. I had a real journey with this that took me to places both here and beyond that affected me so profoundly that my life will never be the same… I get to be not afraid of dying and I get to tell other people that it’s a fabulous thing and that death is a gift.”

Hangovers are usually an unpleasant consequence of a night out drinking but a hangover literally saved Seth McFarlane’s life. The “Family Guy” creator flew into Boston to give a speech at his alma mater Rhode Island School of Design and was scheduled to fly back to LA on American Airlines Flight 11 the morning of September 11, 2001. Because of his night out, McFarlane was moving slower than normal the next day and missed his flight by one minute. The host of the upcoming 85th Annual Academy Awards Ceremony found out about the terrorist attacks at the airport where he spent the rest of the day sobering up.

Travis Barker has a lot to be thankful for and he knows it. The Blink 182 drummer nearly died when the chartered plane he was on crashed four and a half years ago in South Carolina. Barker suffered second-and-third-degree burns and had to undergo several operations. His musical partner DJ AM was also critically injured in the accident. Four others perished, including Barker’s security guard and assistant. He opens up about his upcoming plans to travel the friendly skies. “I’m scared to death of flying,” Barker said. “The goal is to be stress free, so I think in February will be the first time I fly in four years.”

In 2001, Niki Taylor was involved in a horrific car crash that nearly ended her career and life. Taylor’s then-boyfriend Chad Renegar smashed his SUV into a utility pole while attempting to answer his cell phone. Taylor ended up in a coma for over six-weeks and suffered from a punctured lung and a lacerated liver. The road back to recovery for the fashion model was long and arduous; she underwent 56 operations to rebuild her spine with steel rods and had to have years of extensive physical therapy. Taylor most recently appeared on NBC’s “The Celebrity Apprentice.”

Pop singer Aaron Carter almost loss his life in a freak accident. The younger brother of Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter was driving on the Florida Turnpike minding his own business back in 2005 when a mattress came flying off the truck directly in front of him. The mattress wedged underneath his Lincoln Navigator and ignited at once. Carter was able to pull over and escape before his vehicle fully engulfed in flames. This is not Carter’s first brush with death; he had to be rescued after getting trapped in quicksand in another incident. “I’m so lucky to be alive right now,” said Carter a I can’t believe I survived another near-death experience. I feel like I am a cat and I only have five lives left.”

Teen heartthrob Jason Priestley was critically injured while driving a race car during a practice run at the Kentucky Speedway. Traveling at over 180 mph when he smashed into the wall, Priestley suffered a concussion, broken back, nose, feet and other injuries. Priestly said he was technically dead “for about 45 seconds.” The “Beverly Hills 90210” star made a miraculous recovery and still loves to race.

It seems as if drugs go hand-in-hand with rock-n-roll. Motley Crue drummer Nikki Six thought he was at death’s door in 1987 after overdosing on heroin. Sixx recalled the out of body experience that he felt while paramedics worked feverishly injecting shots of adrenaline to his heart in order to revive him. “I saw things I shouldn’t have been able to see. I saw the hotel hallway, the ambulance, the limo that was there. I couldn’t have seen that because there was a sheet over me. I kept it to myself for years; people look at you and think you’re a little bit crazy.”

Eccentric actor Gary Buesy knows all too well the importance of riding a motorcycle with a helmet on and unfortunately he found out the hard way. The Academy Award nominee was cruising around on his Harley-Davidson back in 1987 when he crashed and flipped over the handlebars splitting his head open on the concrete. Busey wounded up a month-long coma. As a result of this near-death experience, Busey became the poster child for helmet safety and has recently dedicated his life to his religion.

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