Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner has detailed the circumstances that recently landed him in the hospital. Last week, the band postponed the remainder of the U.S. dates on their rescheduled 50th anniversary tour, dubbed 50 Heavy Metals Years Tour, following their performance at Louder Than Life festival in Louisville, Kentucky.
“I’ve always been grateful for the opportunities I’ve been presented with. I’ve always considered myself THE most fortunate man ever — to be able to play my favourite music — with my favourite band — to my favourite people around the world,” Faulkner said in a statement. “Today just being able to type this to you all is the biggest gift of all.
“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 continued. “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.”
He said that he underwent emergency open heart surgery, where parts of his chest were “replaced with mechanical components.” He added: “I’m literally made of metal now.”
Faulkner pondered what the outcome might have been had they not been performing in close proximity to UofL Health’s Rudd Heart and Lung Center where he was taken, or if the show had been a longer set. “We can always drive ourselves crazy with these things but I’m still alive thankfully,” he said. “Whatever the circumstances, when watching that footage, the truth is, knowing what I know now, I see a dying man.”
Faulkner, who added that he had no history of any heart condition previously, thanked friends, family and fans for their support and encouraged everyone to get checkups. “My point is I don’t even have high cholesterol and this could’ve been the end for me, he concluded. “If you can get yourselves checked — do it for me please.”
Judas Priest will drop a massive 50th anniversary box set, Judas Priest: 50 Heavy Metal Years of Music, on October 15th.