JUDAS PRIEST's RICHIE FAULKNER Suffered An 'Aortic Aneurysm' During LOUDER THAN LIFE Performance

October 5, 2021

JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Richie Faulkner says that he suffered an "aortic aneurysm and complete aortic dissection" during the band's performance at the Louder Than Life festival.

On September 27, one day after PRIEST's appearance in Lousville, Kentucky, the British heavy metal legends announced that they were postponing the remainder of their U.S. tour so that Faulkner could be treated for a heart condition. The following day, his girlfriend Mariah Lynch, daughter of former DOKKEN guitarist George Lynch, said that Richie was "stable and resting" after undergoing "major emergency heart surgery."

Earlier today, Faulkner shared the following update with BLABBERMOUTH.NET regarding his condition: "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 favorite music, with my favourite band, to my favorite 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 ½ 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 hour's 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…"

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.

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.

A number of Faulkner's other colleagues also sent their well-wishes his way, including Zakk Wylde (BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, OZZY OSBOURNE),Joe Bonamassa, Gary Holt (EXODUS, SLAYER) and Paul Stanley (KISS).

"Get well soon Richie," wrote Bonamassa. "One of the nicest, most talented and genuine people I have met in this business."

Former WHITESNAKE and DIO guitarist Doug Aldrich wrote: "Just heard our brother Richie fell ill and is in the hospital… Prayers for a speedy recovery."

Holt wrote: "Here's wishing Richie a speedy recovery, get well soon brother, one of the greatest guitarists walking this earth, and nicest guy too."

Faulkner and Lynch welcomed their first child, a baby girl named Daisy Mae, in July 2020.

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