Motley Crue had nine lives from a career standpoint – and we’d estimate that bassist/co-founder Nikki Sixx alone used up at least half.

None of his near-death experiences have been as infamous as the one on Dec. 23, 1987. After a night of drug-fueled partying with pals (including Guns N’ Roses members Slash and Steven Adler and Ratt’s Robbin Crosby), Sixx was injected with one last syringe of heroin – and promptly passed out cold.

Unfortunately, this overdose wasn’t like the others; he had turned blue, and couldn't be roused. In Sixx's book, The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star, a recent U.S. transplant named Sally McLaughlin recalls frantically giving the rocker mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, while her then-boyfriend Slash destroyed a hotel bathroom around them.

The paramedics arrived and gave Sixx adrenaline, although not before he had an out-of-body experience. As he recounts in The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band:

“I tried to sit up to figure out what was going on. I thought it would be hard to lift my body. But to my surprise, I shot upright, as if I weighed nothing. Then it felt as if something very gentle was grabbing my head and pulling me upward. Above me, everything was bright white.

I looked down and realized I had left my body. Nikki Sixx—or the filthy, tattooed container that had once held him—was lying covered face-to-toe with a sheet on a gurney being pushed by medics into an ambulance.”

Amid this pandemonium, word leaked to radio and other band members that Sixx had died. In The Heroin Diaries, Vince Neil recalled being devastated: “Maybe deep down I knew it was going to happen one day, but it still tore me to pieces because I loved Nikki – even though he was an arrogant selfish shit. I cried. And I never used to cry then.”

But then – miracle of miracles – Sixx eventually woke up just a few hours later. True to form, he was not thrilled to be in the hospital, and left it in style.

In his own Heroin Diaries words: “There was a cop asking me questions, so I told him to go fuck himself. I ripped out my tubes and staggered in just my leather pants into the parking lot, where two teenage girls were sitting crying around a candle. They had heard on the radio that I was dead and looked kind of surprised to see me.”

The teenagers gave Sixx a jacket, a lecture about quitting drugs – and a ride home, in their Mazda.

Rock's Most Dysfunctional Bands

Oh sure, it’s all fun and games at first. Then underlying issues start bubbling up.

Gallery Credit: Ed Rivadavia

Think You Know Motley Crue?

More From Ultimate Classic Rock