Judas Priest’s Richie Faulkner Suffered ‘Aortic Aneurysm’ On Stage

The guitarist released his own statement to bring fans up to speed

Richie Faulkner performing on the first show of Judas Priest’s 2021 tour in Reading [Matt Bishop Photo]

Almost two weeks ago, one of the most shocking concert moments in recent memory came when Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner was rushed to the hospital following the band’s set at Louder Than Life in Louisville, KY. The axman immediately underwent emergency heart surgery. Now, Judas Priest have provided fans an update via Faulkner himself.

While on stage, Faulkner suffered an aortic aneurysm.

“My aorta ruptured and started to spill blood into my chest cavity,” he said.

Read Richie’s full statement below

Maniacs…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. 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. 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.

I was taken to nearby Rudd Heart & Lung Center and quickly went into what turned out to be a 10.5 hour emergency open heart surgery. Five parts of my chest were replaced with mechanical components. I’m literally made of metal now. It could have all ended so differently – we only had an hours set that night due to Metallica’s performance after us – and it does cross my mind if it was a full set, would I have played until total collapse…? If it hadn’t happened in such a high adrenaline situation would my body have been able to keep going long enough to reach the hospital…? The amazing Heart & Lung Center was 4 miles away from the gig site – if it had been further away

We can always drive ourselves crazy with these things but I’m still alive thankfully. Whatever the circumstances, when watching that footage, the truth is, knowing what I know now, I see a dying man. I’ve been moved to tears and humbled by friends, family, my fantastic band, crew and management and also you guys sending me videos and messages of love and support during the last week – I thank you all so much and although I have a recovery road ahead of me, as soon as I’m able to get up and running again, you’ll be the first to know and we’ll get back out there delivering the goods for you all! One last thing maniacs, 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. Lots of love and see you down the front again soon…Richie

– Richie Faulkner/Judas Priest
Judas Priest 2021 tour
Richie Faulkner performing on the first show of Judas Priest’s 2021 tour in Reading [Matt Bishop Photo]

For now, the rest of Judas Priest’s 50 Heavy Metal Years Tour with Sabaton has been postponed.

Judas Priest’s latest album Firepower peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 in 2019 and is the highest-charting album of their career.

About Matt Bishop

Welcome to the Revival of rock 'n' roll music. The way you used to hear rock, see rock, and feel rock is going to be shattered into a million pieces, reassembled, and revived. Dive into the realm of rock with interviews, concert coverage, and breaking news that make the music seem real again - in your ears, in your mind, and right in front of your very eyes. You'll feel the cool steel of the guitar strings and the smooth wood grain of the drum sticks right in your hands, all with the echoes of reverb in your head. This is the way rock was supposed to be experienced. Welcome to the Revival of rock 'n' roll music.
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