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Richie Faulkner discharged from hospital following open-heart surgery

Richie Faulkner of Judas Priest performs on the final night of the band's Firepower World Tour at The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on June 29, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada
(Image credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner has been discharged from the Louisville, Kentucky hospital where he had been convalescing after undergoing 10-and-a-half hours of open-heart surgery last week, and is now resting at his home in Nashville.

While performing with Priest at the Louder Than Life festival in Louisville, Kentucky on September 26, Faulkner suffered from “an aortic aneurysm and complete aortic dissection.” 

After being taken to the Rudd Heart & Lung Center at the University of Louisville, Faulkner was taken to surgery, where – according to the guitarist – five parts of his chest were "replaced with mechanical components." Faulkner said that surgeons informed him that people who suffer from similar cardiac events "don’t usually make it to the hospital alive."

The Louder Than Life festival took place just four miles away from the hospital where Faulkner was taken, and Priest happened to be second on the bill to Metallica on the evening of the 26th, rather than scheduled for a full set. 

“He was only four miles away, but miles equal minutes and he did not have many to spare,” Dr. Siddharth Pahwa, a cardiothoracic surgeon at University of Louisville Health, said in a statement. “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.”

Following Faulkner's hospitalization, Judas Priest postponed their 50 Heavy Metal Years tour indefinitely. Though Faulkner mentioned that he has "a recovery road ahead of me," he added that "as soon as I’m able to get up and running again, you’ll be the first to know and we’ll get back out there delivering the goods for you all!" 

Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at guitarworld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.