British heavy metal legends JUDAS PRIEST have postponed the remainder of their U.S. tour due to "major medical heart condition issues" suffered by guitarist Richie Faulkner.
Produced by Live Nation, the rescheduled "50 Heavy Metal Years" trek kicked off on September 8 in Reading, Pennsylvania and was slated to run through October before concluding on November 5 in Hamilton, Ontario.
PRIEST's most recent show took place Sunday night (September 26) at the Louder Than Life festival in Louisville, Kentucky. The band's next date was originally set for Wednesday (September 29) at the Mission Ballroom in Denver, Colorado.
Earlier today (Monday, September 27),PRIEST released the following statement via longtime publicists Chipster PR: "it is with deep regret that we have to postpone the rest of our U.S. tour. Richie Faulkner has major medical heart condition issues which have landed him in the hospital where he is being treated. In the meantime, we are all sending love to our Falcon to wish him a speedy recovery…
"As soon as we have any updates from his doctors on when we can reschedule the dates, we will of course announce them — tickets will be valid..."
Faulkner joined PRIEST in 2011 as the replacement for original guitarist K.K. Downing.
Richie was once the guitarist in the backing group for Lauren Harris, daughter of IRON MAIDEN bassist Steve Harris.
During a 2019 online video chat, Faulkner was asked what his "biggest insecurity" was when joining PRIEST 10 years ago. He replied: "I think it was the fact that it's a global audience and it's a band that means so much to millions of people around the world, and you're, all of a sudden, thrust into the public eye with that band. And, of course, that brings some insecurity. But you've just gotta get on and do it and do your best, and that's what I did, and that's what you've gotta do."
In a 2016 interview with 103GBF, JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford stated about Faulkner: "We can't say enough about Richie. I mean, you know, it's hard to condense it, but if you [see PRIEST in concert] and just look at Richie's charisma and energy and all of the great stuff that's coming out of his hands, it's wonderful; it really is. And, yeah, I mean, he's infectious; the fans will tell you that. Once the show kicks off, he's at the edge of the stage connecting, and that's a really cool thing to be having happen with PRIEST."
Faulkner and his girlfriend Mariah Lynch, daughter of former DOKKEN guitarist George Lynch, welcomed their first child, a baby girl, in July 2020.
PRIEST's longtime guitarist Glenn Tipton was diagnosed with Parkinson's seven years ago — after being stricken by the condition at least half a decade earlier — but announced in early 2018 he was going to sit out touring activities in support of "Firepower". He was replaced by "Firepower" album producer Andy Sneap, who is also known for his work in NWOBHM revivalists HELL and cult thrash outfit SABBAT. Tipton occasionally joins PRIEST onstage for its encores, performing "Metal Gods", "Breaking The Law" and "Living After Midnight".