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Judas Priest Guitarist Glenn Tipton Has Parkinson’s Disease, Stepping Down from Touring

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Glenn Tipton, one half of the legendary guitar duo in Judas Priest, has Parkinson’s Disease and will be stepping down from touring with the band.

The other half of that guitar duo — K.K. Downing — left the band in 2011 and was replaced by Richie Faulkner.

In a post on Judas Priest’s Facebook page this morning, the band revealed that Tipton was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease ten years ago, and while he was initially able to battle through, manage the symptoms and perform with Priest on stage, the progression of the disease has simply now become too much. Tipton will continue to write and record with the band, and as far as we can tell he participated in the recording of the band’s upcoming release Firepower.

Tipton’s live replacement on the band’s upcoming tour will be Andy Sneap, a founding member of Sabbat who has become best known for his top-notch work as an engineer, mixer and producer in the metal world.

Here is Judas Priest’s full statement:

GLENN TIPTON/JUDAS PRIEST DIAGNOSED WITH PARKINSONS:
Ten years ago Glenn was diagnosed to have the onset of the early stages of Parkinson’s – from then until recently Glenn has lived his life as the great heavy metal guitar player he has always been, maintaining by his own definition a standard of quality and performance that is incredibly important.

Right now Glenn is able to play and perform some of the Priest songs that are less challenging but due to the nature of Parkinson’s progression he wants to let you all know that he won’t be be touring as such –

True to the metal spirit of ‘the show must go on’ Glenn has requested Andy Sneap to fly the flag on stage for him

“I want everyone to know that it’s vital that the Judas Priest tour go ahead and that I am not leaving the band – it’s simply that my role has changed.
I don’t rule out the chance to go on stage as and when I feel able to blast out some Priest! So at some point in the not too distant future I’m really looking forward to seeing all of our wonderful metal maniacs once again”

Rob, Richie, Ian and Scott have this to say:

“We have been privileged to witness Glenn’s determination and steadfast commitment over the years, showing his passion and self belief through the writing, recording and performing sessions with Priest – he is a true metal hero!
We are not surprised by Glenn’s insistence that we complete the Firepower tour and thank Andy for joining us to make Glenn’s wishes become real –
As Glenn has said we also can’t wait to have him with us at any time any place on the road…..
We love you Glenn!”

We can assume that Glenn’s 40+ year tenure in Judas Priest has afforded him the best health care imaginable, and we wish him the best in managing the horrid condition that is Parkinson’s. You done good, Glenn, at least you can know that; stepping down is a brave and noble thing to do.

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