Judas Priest recently postponed their remaining U.S. tour dates after guitarist Richie Faulkner suffered a “major medical heart condition.” Faulkner has now issued a statement detailing his scary health episode.
Faulkner says he suffered an aortic aneurysm and complete aortic dissection during Priest’s set at the Louder Than Life festival on 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…” said Faulkner in his statement.
He added, “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…”
Faulkner continued, “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…”
Faulkner thanked Priest’s crew and fans for their well-wishes and support during this time and said, “…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…”