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Bret Michaels, welcome to your victory lap. Now please watch your step.

The recovering rocker was the last celebrity standing last night, when he was "hired" by Donald Trump and named winner of the third season of Celebrity Apprentice. And since everyone loves a happy ending, his crowning didn't exactly come as a surprise to the viewing public. Bret, on the other hand...

"I gotta be honest, I know the pattern in the boardroom, and when he came to me, then her, and then back to me, I go, I'm fired," he told E! News. "I flew all the way here, I'm in pain, I can barely walk, he's gonna fire me in front of everybody."

He didn't, of course, and Michaels for one couldn't be happier.

"I gotta tell you, I am so thrilled, I am beyond thrilled to have won," he said.

And he didn't check his generosity at the door, revealing that he did indeed plan to make good on the $25,000 he promised fellow competitors Darryl Strawberry and Olympian/E! News correspondent Summer Sanders, who is donating her portion to Right to Play.

"We're cutting it right now," he said.

As for his trip across the country, which came in the immediate wake of his rehospitalization, Michaels said the flight was definitely not doctor-approved.

"We went back into the hospital again, they said, 'Listen, we don't advise that you fly, but if you wanna do it, here's what you need to do.' And I'm here, and I didn't want to miss this for the world. I'm ready to rock."

His fellow finalist agrees.

"He's the Energizer Bunny," Holly Robinson-Peete said. "You're not gonna keep him from a good party, especially if he's the guest of honor."

The Donald also got in on the flattering act.

"Bret has been fantastic right from the beginning," he said. "His doctors did not want him to be here; they did not want him flying. He insisted on being here.

"He almost died a month ago, less than a month ago. He was a little bit shaky tonight, but in the end he came through like he always does."

(Originally published May 24, 2010, at 12:07 p.m. PT)

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Tune into E! News tonight at 7 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. for more with Bret. In the meantime, check out our gallery for more of Bret Michaels' Big Moments.