Richie Faulkner said he got his doctors’ permission to tour with Judas Priest while he waited to undergo a second open heart procedure and noted the band had canceled only one concert while he dealt with his health issues.

The guitarist required emergency surgery last year after collapsing with a ruptured aorta during the band’s performance at the Louder Than Life Festival in Kentucky in 2021. Recalling the incident in a social media post, he explained that he went under the knife again six weeks ago.

“It’s crazy how one minute you’re listening to the crowd singing ‘War Pigs’ – everything normal, everything seemingly fine – the next it turns out that it was almost the last time I ever heard it,” Faulkner said of his collapse. “I’m fortunate and grateful to be here a year later typing this. My support system at home, the hospitals and of course from all you metal maniacs has been second to none and I thank you all.”

But, he continued, “I’m not completely out of the woods yet. Just before we toured Europe, 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 was forming an 8cm sack that was surrounding my heart.”

The road trip kicked off in May and ended in Belgium on Aug. 7, and Faulkner confirmed his “doctors were OK” with him taking part. “But as soon as I got back I had to go under again for another open heart surgery. So three days after we played Belgium, they went in, removed the sack and fixed the leak.”

He said he was feeling “well and strong” and looking forward to Priest’s upcoming North American dates. “My surgeons were always confident that it was enough time for me to recover and get back out on the road,” he added. “And it seems like they were right. We had to lose Aftershock Festival [in California in October] in order for me to recover, but it looks like it’s still gonna be a kick-ass festival.”

He advised: “Look after yourselves and your loved ones; you never know what’s round the corner. Stay safe and see you all soon.”

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