Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner suffered aortic aneurysm during concert

Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner has revealed that he suffered a life-threatening aortic aneurysm and complete aortic dissection while performing on stage at the Louder Than Life Festival in Louisville, KY on September 26.

The rocker, who was rushed to hospital immediately following the band’s set at the event, recounts the dramatic urgency of the situation in detail in a newly-posted note to fans, with the group adding: “This is from our strong falcon - he will be flying high again just as soon as he is able….”

“I’ve always been grateful for the opportunities I’ve been presented with,” begins Faulkner. “I’ve always considered myself THE most fortunate man ever - to be able to play my favorite music - with my favorite 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.”

An aortic aneurysm is a bulge that occurs in the wall of the aorta that carries blood from the heart to the body, according to the Mayo Clinic, while an aortic dissection is when a tear occurs in the inner layer of the body's main artery and blood rushes through, causing the internal layers to split (dissect); if the blood goes through the outside aortic wall, aortic dissection is often deadly.

“From what I’ve been told by my surgeon, people with this don’t usually make it to the hospital alive,” the 41-year-old guitarist continues. “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….

“It could have all ended so differently – 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…..

“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,”
adds the guitarist, “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….Richie”

Following the September 26 incident, Judas Priest immediately shut down the remainder of their North American tour, which was scheduled to wrap up in Hamilton, ON on November 5.

See also:

KK’s Priest stream Return Of The Sentinel video
Judas Priest guitarist recovering from emergency heart surgery
Judas Priest postpone North American tour after guitarist hospitalized
Judas Priest joined by Kirk Hammett for Fleetwood Mac classic in Kentucky
Search Judas Priest at hennemusic