When he was young, Evel Knievel was a one-man circus - part celebrity test pilot, part high stakes gambler. That was a lifetime ago. Today he was terminally ill and he was driving home to die.

Evel was spanning the 12-mile bridge between Tampa and Clearwater when he received the call that saved his life.

It was Debby, the nurse for the transplant surgeon.

Evel, she said, a young man just died in an auto wreck in Miami. The fatality was an organ donor with a healthy liver and matching blood type.

Evel, she said, can you turn it around and come back over?

Moments ago the Tampa-Clearwater bridge was his off ramp to the underworld. One spin of the wheel later it was the take-off ramp for a fighting chance.

In Butte, Montana where he was born and raised, the Milky Way glows like diamond dust on the black velvet of deep space. When the blazing sun dominates, the only thing that makes its mark on the tyranny of the Big Sky is the streamline of a jet plane five miles high.

A sky that big over your head makes you want to stand out and be heard from, makes you want to amount to something, pushes you to imagine what you can be in life. High above the jet trails, in the limbo between the Big Sky and the stars, that's where Evel's spirit was the day they rolled him into the operating theater.

Chapter Three: We Can Rebuild Him >>

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Hank Williams III
Talks to Five-O about Superjoint Ritual
The Man Who
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Evel's Omega Years
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Evel Knievel
Full Photo Coverage!
The Mothman Prophecies
Interview with Director Mark Pellington
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40 Years
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30 Years
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20 Years
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Screaming for Vengeance