Judas Priest's Richie Faulkner Thankful He Survived Aortic Aneurysm

Revealing the extent of his medical emergency, the metal band's guitarist informs fans that his aorta ruptured while he played 'Painkiller' at the Louder Than Life festival.

AceShowbiz - Judas Priest star Richie Faulkner suffered an aortic aneurysm during the band's Louder Than Life festival set last month (September 2021).

The group shut down their North American tour after realizing the guitarist was seriously ill following the show at the Louisville, Kentucky event, and now he has revealed the extent of his medical emergency.

Updating fans via Blabbermouth.net on Tuesday, October 5, the rocker said, "I've always been grateful for the opportunities I've been presented with. I've always considered myself the most fortunate man ever... 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 10½ hour emergency open heart surgery. Five parts of my chest were replaced with mechanical components... I'm literally made of metal now."

Faulkner admits he's lucky the band was playing support to Metallica and not performing a full set.

"It could have all ended so differently," he added. "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."

Richie revealed he has been "moved to tears" and "humbled" by the support of friends, family, his bandmates and crew.

"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," he said.

He signed off by urging fans to take regular doctor check-ups seriously, "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."

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