Judas Priest’s Richie Faulkner Suffered An “Aortic Aneurysm” While Playing “Painkiller” at Louder Than Life

Photo by Ralph Arvesen, via Wikipedia
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Last month, we announced the sad news that Judas Priest would be postponing the remainder of their North American tour due to severe medical issues with guitarist Richie Faulkner. Now, Richie has revealed his diagnosis — and holy shit, was it the kind of thing you cancel a tour over!

In a statement, Richie told the world, “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….”

Richie went on to say, “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…”

Everyone at The Pit wishes Richie a smooth and swift recovery. Readers, don’t hesitate — go to the doctor and get checked up. Here’s video of the band playing “Painkiller” at Louder Than Life below:


Words by Chris Krovatin