Judas Priest’s Richie Faulkner shares scary details of “aortic aneurysm” that led to emergency heart surgery

Courtesy of Judas Priest

Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner has shared more about the scary health issue that necessitated emergency heart surgery late last month.

In a statement posted to the band’s website, Faulkner explains that he felt something was off during Priest’s performance of “Painkiller” during their set at September’s Louder than Life festival.

“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,” Faulkner writes. “I was having what my doctor called an aortic aneurysm and complete aortic dissection.”

Indeed, if you look at fan-shot footage of the performance, it does appear that Faulkner grabs his chest towards the end of the song.

Faulkner was immediately rushed to the local Rudd Heart & Lung Center — which, luckily, was only four miles away — where he underwent over 10 hours of open heart surgery.

“It could have all ended so differently,” Faulkner muses. “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…?”

“We can always drive ourselves crazy with these things but I’m still alive thankfully,” he adds.

Faulkner is now on the road to recovery, and notes that several parts of his chest were “replaced with mechanical components.”

“I’m literally made of metal now,” he says.

Due to Faulkner’s surgery, Judas Priest postponed the remainder of their 2021 U.S. tour.

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