Judas Priest’s Richie Faulkner reveals he underwent open heart surgery for a second time

The guitarist underwent surgery six weeks ago, and says he's "feeling well and strong" and "looking forward" to the band's upcoming tour dates

Richie Faulkner of Judas Priest has revealed that he’s currently recovering from his second open heart surgery.

Sharing the health update via social media on Tuesday (September 27), the guitarist disclosed that he’d undergone the surgery six weeks ago, following the European leg of Judas Priest’s current world tour. “Just before we toured Europe,” Faulkner recalled, “scans showed a hole in one of the connections between the synthetic graft and my own aorta.”

Faulkner went on to explain the condition, writing that “the blood from the leak was forming an 8cm sack that was surrounding [his] heart.” The guitarist elaborated on the procedure, saying that doctors were able to “remove the sack and fix the leak.” Now, weeks later, Faulkner said he is “feeling well and strong,” and is “looking forward” to resuming the next jaunt of the metal band’s ongoing tour.


Faulkner accompanied the update with a video of the crowd at last year’s Louder Than Life music festival. The festival was the site of Faulkner’s first heart complication, having suffered an aortic rupture onstage while performing alongside Judas Priest. Faulkner reflected on the incident — which required emergency surgery in September 2021 — in the accompanying caption.

“It’s crazy how one minute you’re listening to the crowd singing ‘War Pigs’…the[n] 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”, Faulkner wrote. The guitarist later recovered from that surgery, and was cleared to resume touring with Judas Priest for the remainder of the year.

While the European dates of Judas Priest’s 50 Heavy Metal Years tour remain uninterrupted by Faulker’s recent surgery, the band was forced to drop out of their planned appearance at Aftershock Festival next month. Faulkner will rejoin Judas Priest for their upcoming run of shows across the US, which begin in Connecticut on October 13 before wrapping up in Texas in late November.

Faulkner’s health complications follow those of fellow Judas Priest bandmate Rob Halford, who last year revealed that he’d been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The frontman received treatment for the cancer in May 2021, and said in October that he was in remission.

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