Judas Priest Guitarist Richie Faulkner Opens Up About His Second Heart Surgery


Richie Faulkner, guitarist of Judas Priest – Story and photo by Anne Erickson

Richie Faulkner says that although he recently had to undergo a second heart operation, he is ready to participate in the next Judas Priest tour

About a year ago, Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner nearly died when his aorta ruptured on stage during the metal band’s performance at the Louder Than Life festival in Louisville. This week, Faulkner took to social media to mark the anniversary of that terrifying event, and announced that he had recently undergone a second open-heart surgery.

Looking back, it was September 26, 2021, when Judas Priest was wrapping up his performance at the festival when Faulkner’s aorta ruptured during the famous metal song “Painkiller.” He was rushed to hospital and underwent life-saving emergency surgery. After the incident, he described the outcome of the procedure saying, “Five parts of my chest were replaced with mechanical components…I’m literally made of metal now.”

Now, Faulkner shares that he’s not “completely out of the woods yet” and recently had to undergo another heart surgery. He took to Instagram this week to explain his condition and the recent surgery:

“A year ago today. Less than an hour before my life changes forever. It’s crazy how one minute you listen to the crowd sing [Black Sabbath’s] ‘War Pigs’ – everything is normal, everything seems fine – the next day, it turns out, was almost the last time I heard it. Unbeknownst to me, there were things happening below the surface that were about to literally explode. I’m lucky and grateful to be here a year later typing this. My support system at home, in hospitals and of course from all metal maniacs has been second to none and I thank you all.

I’m not quite out of the woods yet.

Just before our European tour, scans showed a hole in one of the connections between the synthetic graft and my own aorta that was causing a leak. The blood from the leak formed an 8cm bag that surrounded my heart. The doctors were okay with me touring Europe, but as soon as I got back I had to drop back in for another open-heart surgery. So 3 days after we played Belgium they came in, removed the bag and fixed the leak.

So I am now six weeks post second open heart surgery, feeling great and strong and looking forward to seeing you all again on the next leg of the #50heavymetalyears US tour which kicks off in a few weeks. My surgeons were always convinced that I had enough time to recover and get back on the road and it seems they were right. We had to lose @aftershockfestival for me to recover, but it looks like it will always be a Kick-Ass festival.

Take care of yourself and your loved ones, you never know what awaits you.

Faulkner will tour with Judas Priest for a fall run in the United States, which begins October 13 in Wallingford, Connecticut, and ends November 29 in Houston, Texas.



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