Enlarge Judas Priest's Richie Faulkner at The Warfield, San Francisco, CA, June 24th, 2019. Photo Credit: Simmons Tobias for MetalSucks

Judas Priest Guitarist Richie Faulkner is Now Home Following Emergency Heart Surgery


Last week, Judas Priest were forced to call off the remainder of their then-in-progress U.S. tour after guitarist Richie Faulkner was hospitalized with “major medical heart condition issues.” It was later reported that he underwent ten hours of emergency open heart surgery after first feeling ill on stage at the Louder Than Life festival in Louisville. Thankfully, he came through the surgery okay.

And now we can report with a huge sigh of relief that Faulkner has been allowed to leave the hospital and is safely resting at home. Phew.

“From what I’ve been told by my surgeon,” Faulkner said in a previous statement, “people with this don’t usually make it to the hospital alive.” And that’s no exaggeration. Getting the problem diagnosed in time to do anything about it is unlikely (it is often misdiagnosed), surviving the ensuing emergency surgery (for which ten hours or more is fairly standard) is unlikely, waking up from the medically-induced coma into which doctors need to put you to perform the surgery is iffy at best, and if you do wake up, the chances of permanent brain damage are serious… the entire ordeal was rife with extreme risk at every single step, a conclusion not lost on Faulkner, who is 41 and otherwise in good health, in the slightest.

But home Faulkner is. Alive and recovering.

“He was only four miles away, but miles equal minutes and he did not have many to spare,” said Dr. Siddharth Pahwa, cardiothoracic surgeon with UofL Health – UofL Physicians, according to Blabbermouth (no source cited). “Mr. Faulkner is alive today because the stars aligned. He had an outstanding emergency care team, he was close to a world class heart center, and he was quick to recognize he needed help.”

The UofL Health – Jewish Hospital cardiothoracic surgery team, led by Dr. Pahwa, also included Drs. Brian Ganzel and Mark Slaughter. It took them approximately 10 hours to complete the surgery, an aortic valve and ascending aorta replacement with hemiarch replacement.

We continue to wish Faulkner all the best knowing how long and hard the road ahead of him is now.

Judas Priest are scheduled to play support on Ozzy Osbourne’s tour of Europe and the U.K. next year, although what Faulkner’s condition will be like then remains unclear. Dates are as follows:

Jan. 26 – Germany – Berlin Mercedes-Benz Arena [Tickets]
Jan. 28 – Czech Republic – Prague O2 Arena [Tickets]
Jan. 31 – Switzerland – Zurich Hallenstadion [Tickets]
Feb. 02 – Hungary – Budapest Budapest Arena (no Judas Priest) [Tickets]
Feb. 05 – Spain – Madrid WiZink Center [Tickets]
Feb. 08 – Italy – Bologna Unipol Arena [Tickets]
Feb. 11 – Germany – Mannheim SAP Arena [Tickets]
Feb. 14 – Germany – Hamburg Barclaycard Arena [Tickets]
Feb. 17 – Finland – Helsinki Hartwall Arena [Tickets]
Feb. 19 – Sweden – Stockholm Friends Arena [Tickets]
Feb. 21 – Germany – Dortmund Westfalenhalle [Tickets]
Feb. 24 – Germany – Munich Olympiahalle [Tickets]
Feb. 27 – UK – Nottingham Motorpoint Arena [Tickets]
Mar. 01 – Ireland – Dublin 3Arena [Tickets]
Mar. 04 – UK – Birmingham Resorts World Arena [Tickets]
Mar. 07 – UK – London The O2 [Tickets]
Mar. 09 – UK – Manchester AO Arena [Tickets]
Mar. 12 – UK – Newcastle Utilita Arena [Tickets]
Mar. 14 – UK – Glasgow The SSE Hydro [Tickets]

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