Judas Priest's Richie Faulkner Underwent 2nd Open Heart Surgery, Reveals Health Update

Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner is recovering after he recently underwent his second open heart surgery. After the musician underwent emergency heart surgery after he experienced an aortic rupture onstage during the band's 2021 Louder Than Life Festival performance, Faulkner revealed in a Sept. 26 health update that he underwent an additional operation in August following the European leg of Judas Priest's current world tour.

Faulkner, 42, revealed the news in a post shared across his social media platforms alongside a video of the band's 2021 performance at Louder Than Life Festival in Louisville, Kentucky, which he said was recorded "one year ago today. Less than an hour before my life changed forever." Reflecting on the events of the past year, Faulkner wrote, "it's crazy how one minute you're listening to the crowd singing war pigs- everything normal, everything seemingly fine- the 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," he wrote. "I'm fortunate and grateful to be here a year later typing this. My support system at home, the hospitals and of course from all you metal maniacs has been second to none and I thank you all."

Faulkner isn't "completely out of the woods yet," though, as he went on to reveal that "just before we toured Europe, scans showed a hole in one of the connections between the synthetic graft and my own aorta that was causing a leak. The blood from the leak was forming an 8cm sack that was surrounding my heart." As a result of the complication, the guitarist "had to go under again for another open-heart surgery" to remove the sack and fix the leak just three days after Judas Priest's performance in Belgium.


Faulkner said he is now "six weeks post the 2nd open heart surgery, feeling well and strong and Looking forward to seeing you all again on the next leg of the US [50 heavy metal years] tour starting in a few weeks." He assured fans that his "surgeons were always confident that it was enough time for me to recover and get back out on the road and it seems like they were right." The musician concluded the post by encouraging his fans to "look after yourselves and your loved ones, you never know what's round the corner."