September 26, 2021 was a bad day for Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner. While he was on stage with the band at Louder Than Life Festival in Kentucky, he suffered an aortic aneurysm and dissection. In other words, a large artery in his heart had literally ballooned and ruptured.
Faulkner was rushed to the hospital, where the expected four- or five-hour operation actually became an 11-hour process. Earlier this year, he told Guitar World:
“They knew I needed open-heart surgery and thought they were going to have to do a four or five hour operation. So they opened me up and saw I had an aortic aneurysm [a ballooning of the aorta, the main artery that carries blood from the heart through the chest and torso].“It had ballooned and ruptured [causing blood to flood through the tear with such force the inner and middle layers of the aorta split]. So it was a lot more severe than what they anticipated, and the procedure took them 11 hours. I had to have four blood transfusions.”
Everything ended up being alright, though it was touch-and-go at times, the doctors explaining that the adrenaline from being on stage may have contributed to Faulkner’s survival. Now, in a new Facebook post one year after the fact, Faulkner says he underwent a second open-heart surgery in early August. Fortunately, everything went smoothly.
“One year ago today. Less than an hour before my life changed forever. 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. Unbeknownst to me there was stuff going on under the surface that was about to literally explode.“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.“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 doctors were okay for me to tour Europe, but as soon as I got back I had to go under again for another open-heart surgery. So 3 days after we played Belgium, they went in, removed the sack and fixed the leak.
“So I’m now six weeks post the 2nd open heart surgery, feeling well and strong and Looking forward to seeing you all again on the next leg of the US #50heavymetalyears tour starting in a few weeks. My surgeons were always confident that it was enough time for me to recover and get back out on the road and it seems like they were right. We had to lose @aftershockfestival in order for me to recover, but it looks like it’s still gonna be a Kick-Ass festival.“Look after yourselves and your loved ones, you never know what’s round the corner.“Stay safe and see you all soon.“Much love, Falcon x RHRF DOTF”.
We’re glad Faulkner’s recovery is going well and that he’ll be joining Priest on the road next month. Check out the dates below.
October 13 in Wallingford, CT @ Toyota Oakdale
October 15th in Albany, NY @ MVP Arena
October 16 in Boston, MA @ MGM Music Hall Fenway
October 18 in Uniondale, NY at Nassau Veterans
October 19 in Wilkes-Barre, PA @ Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza
October 21 in Kalamazoo, MI at Wings Event Center
October 22 in Detroit, MI at Masonic Temple Theatre
October 24 in Cincinnati, OH @ The Andrew J Brady Music Center
October 25 in Waukegan, IL @ Genesee Theatre
October 27 in Green Bay, WI @ Resch Center Theater
October 29 in Moline, IL @ TaxSlayer Center Moline
October 30 in Mankato, MN @ Mayo Clinic Event Center
November 1 in Sioux City, IA @ Tyson Events Center
November 2 in Rapid City, SD @ The Monument
November 7 in Ontario, CA @ Toyota Center
November 8 in Tucson, AZ @ TCC Arena
November 10 in Loveland, CO @ Budweiser Events Center
November 12 in Park City (Wichita), KS @Hartman Arena
November 13 in St. Charles, MO @ The Family Arena
November 15 in Corbin, KY @ The Corbin Arena
November 17 in Southaven, MS @ Landers Center
November 18 in Baton Rouge, LA @ Raising Canes River Center
November 20 in Oklahoma City, OK @ Paycom Center
November 22 & 23 in San Antonio, TX @ Tech Port Center & Arena
November 25 in Dallas, TX @ The Factory in Deep Ellum
November 26 in Corpus Christi, TX @ Concrete Street
November 28 in Edinburg, TX @ Burt Ogden Arena
November 29 in Houston, TX @ 713 Music Hall