Judas Priest’s Richie Faulkner Offers Health Update Seven Weeks After Life-Saving Heart Surgery

"I'm playing guitar everyday and ... I'll be back on stage in no time!"

Judas Priest Richie Faulkner heart condition
Judas Priest’s Richie Faulkner, photo by Steven J. Messina

    Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner has checked in with fans to offer an update on his health following the life-saving heart surgery he underwent in late September. The metal musician says he’s been “playing guitar every day” and expects “to be back on stage in no time.”

    To recap, Faulkner’s aorta ruptured and started to spill blood into his chest cavity as Priest were finishing up their set on September 26th at Louisville’s Louder Than Life festival. Amazingly, he managed to finish playing “Painkiller” before being rushed to the hospital. There, he underwent a 10-hour emergency surgery that saved his life. It turned out he was experiencing an aortic aneurysm and a complete aortic dissection. As he initially wrote shortly after the surgery, “Five parts of my chest were replaced with mechanical components…..I’m literally made of metal now.”

    Almost two months later, Faulkner is on the road to recovery, painting a brighter picture with his new update:

    “Hello there, maniacs! I just wanted to post, and I’ve had many of you asking for an update on how my recovery is going.

    I was able to return home from hospital 10 days after my surgery to continue recovery at home. It has now been 7 weeks since the night it all happened and I’m feeling very strong and positive. My incisions have healed very well and I can definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m walking well and moving freely, I’m pretty active and I’m starting cardiac therapy very soon. I’m playing guitar everyday and with the love and support of my family, the continued support from you guys and the inspiration that I get from the guitar, I’ll be back on stage in no time! My surgeons are very pleased with my progress and have all reserved front row tickets for the next Priest show, haha.

    It’s Thanksgiving this month, and whether you celebrate it or not, I have a lot to give thanks for this year; Including all of you for your patience, your love and your support. Lots of love and I’ll see you down the front soon, horns held high. -Richie”


    Heavy Consequence recently caught up with Priest frontman Rob Halford, who told us that he was “still shook up” by Faulkner’s heart emergency. The singer also revealed that he had his own recent serious health issue, as he quietly battled prostate cancer during the pandemic.

    Priest were a couple weeks into their “50 Years of Heavy Metal” North American tour when Faulkner had his medical emergency. The legendary metal act postponed the remaining dates, which haven’t been rescheduled yet. As of now, the band is slated to support Ozzy Osbourne on a European tour that kicks off in late January. Ozzy himself has had a number of major health setbacks in recent years, but tickets for the outing remain on sale.

    See Richie Faulkner’s full statement via Judas Priest’s Instagram page below.