Judas Priest has postponed the rest of their current U.S. tour, following one of the members having to be hospitalized for a heart condition. In a statement shared by Loudwire, that band shared that guitarist Richie Faulker needed urgent medical care and, as a result, they will not be continuing their tour. "It is with deep regret that we have to postpone the rest of our U.S. tour." the band explained.
"Richie Faulkner has major medical heart condition issues which have landed him in the hospital where he is being treated," the statement from Judas Priest continued. "In the meantime, we are all sending love to our Falcon to wish him a speedy recovery." The band added that "as soon as we have any updates from his doctors on when we can reschedule the dates, we will of course announce them," and implied that all previously purchased "tickets will be valid." At this time, there is no word of the status of Faulkner's condition.
Before becoming a member of Judas Priest, Faulker played with bands like Deeds and Voodoo Six. He also played with rock singer Lauren Harris, the daughter of Iron Maiden bassist Steve Harris. Faulker joined Judas Priest back in 2011, following the exit of guitarist K.K. Downing, one of the band's co-founding members. To date, he has played on the band's two most recent studio albums — Redeemer of Souls (2014) and Firepower (2018) — as well as two live projects: Epitaph (2013) and Battle Cry (2016).
Back in 2015, Judas Priest singer Rob Halford sat down for an interview with The Georgia Straight and he spoke highly of Faulker's addition to the band's line-up. "I remember the first day of being in the writing sessions with Richie and the room was electric, you know," recalled the iconic heavy metal vocalist. "There was solid things happening hour after hour. We just kept writing and writing, but we had to put the brakes on because we were on a time schedule."
Halford went on to explain that, after Downing left, the band "didn't want a copycat" and "didn't want somebody that was just gonna replicate things." He continued, "The basic components of the song are already in place, but we said to Richie: 'Don't be afraid to do your own thing, because it's important that you establish your own identity.' Which he did. And the fans were so receptive. There was no negativity toward the guy." Halford then offered, "Let's face it, to some extent Richie saved Judas Priest, because if we hadn't have found him at the crucial time that we were looking for a guitar player things could have turned out quite differently."