During a performance last week, Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner almost died on stage after experiencing an aortic aneurysm — an often fatal heart condition that occurs when an artery is dissected or ruptured.
The 41-year-old musician miraculously lived and has now opened up publicly about his near-death experience while performing the band’s 1990 song “Painkiller” at Kentucky’s Louder Than Life Festival.
“As I watch footage from the Louder Than Life Festival in Kentucky, I can see the confusion and anguish on my face that I felt while playing ‘Painkiller’ as my aorta ruptured and my chest cavity began to bleed … whatever the circumstances, when looking at that footage, the truth is, knowing what I know now, I see a dying man,” he said in a written statement a few days after the September 26 incident. Told Rolling Stone. “I was called an aortic by my doctor. Aneurysm and complete aortic dissection. According to what my surgeon told me, people with it usually don’t get to the hospital alive.”
Despite his inner suffering, Faulkner managed to finish the show before moving on to the nearby University of Louisville’s Rudd Heart and Lung Center. There, he had emergency open-heart surgery and parts of his chest were “replaced with mechanical components.”
“I’m literally made of metal now,” said the heavy metal rocker.
The band, which was formed in 1969, later postponed the rest of their US tour and rescheduled the 50th anniversary “50 Heavy Metal Years” tour, but Faulkner says he is grateful to be alive. have recovered.
“I have always been grateful for the opportunities that have been presented to me. I have always considered myself the luckiest person – to be able to play my favorite music – to be able to play my favorite music,” wrote Faulkner, who joined the group in 2011. With your favorite band – to your favorite people around the world.” Typing this out is the greatest gift for all of you.”
“We would be lost without him,” wrote Faulkner’s partner Maria Lynch in an Instagram post.
If the show’s set was longer, or the heart hospital was further away, Faulkner wouldn’t have believed he’d be alive to tell the story. “We can always drive ourselves crazy with these things, but I’m still alive, thankfully,” he said.
Faulkner, who had no previous history of any heart condition, is now encouraging fans to get screened for unknown heart problems to avoid what they’re experiencing — or worse.
“I don’t even have high cholesterol and this could be the end for me,” he wrote. “If you can get yourself tested – please do it for me.”