Judas Priest Guitarist Richie Faulkner Reveals He Suffered a Ruptured Aorta Onstage

"Five parts of my chest were replaced with mechanical components … I'm literally made of metal now"
Judas Priest Guitarist Richie Faulkner Reveals He Suffered a Ruptured Aorta Onstage
Last week, Judas Priest were forced to postpone the remainder of their 50th anniversary tour after guitarist Richie Faulkner was hospitalized with "major medical heart condition issues." Now, Faulkner has revealed that he is lucky to be alive after suffering a ruptured aorta during a performance.

In a statement shared by his bandmates, Faulkner explained that he first started feeling unlike himself during Judas Priest's set at Louder Than Life festival in Louisville, KY, last month (September 26).

"As I watch footage from the Louder Than Life Festival in Kentucky, I can see in my face the confusion and anguish I was feeling whilst playing 'Painkiller' as my aorta ruptured and started to spill blood into my chest cavity," he wrote. "I was having what my doctor called an aortic aneurysm and complete aortic dissection. From what I've been told by my surgeon, people with this don't usually make it to the hospital alive."

Faulkner was taken to Louisville's Rudd Heart & Lung Center and "quickly went into what turned out to be a 10 ½ hour emergency open heart surgery." He adds, "Five parts of my chest were replaced with mechanical components…..I'm literally made of metal now…"

Faulkner writes that "It could have all ended so differently" had Judas Priest been booked for a headlining set, had the hospital been farther away from the festival site, or if the adrenaline from performing to a raucous crowd of headbangers hadn't been flowing through him.

"We can always drive ourselves crazy with these things but I'm still alive thankfully," Faulkner shared. "Whatever the circumstances, when watching that footage, the truth is, knowing what I know now, I see a dying man…"

Footage of the "Painkiller" performance from Louder Than Life can be seen below, and around the 2:30 mark, Faulkner steps out for a solo section and doesn't miss a note.

The guitarist thanked friends, family, fans, his bandmates, crew and management for their love and support, adding, "this came totally out of the blue for me – no history of a bad heart, no clogged arteries etc…my point is I don't even have high cholesterol and this could've been the end for me. If you can get yourselves checked – do it for me please."

We wish Faulkner a smooth recovery. Judas Priest were poised to end their 50th anniversary tour with three Canadian dates in Halifax, Laval and Hamilton, all of which would have taken place in November.

Upon cancelling the trek, the band shared that as soon as we have any updates from [Faulkner's] doctors on when we can reschedule the dates we will of course announce them — tickets will be valid."