Richie Faulkner says he had second heart surgery between the European and US legs of Judas Priest tour

Richie Faulkner onstage in Berlin in May 2022
(Image credit: Adam Berry / Getty)

Richie Faulkner has updated fans on his health, explaining he underwent a second open heart surgery in August.

The Judas Priest guitarist had previously been put out of action following an onstage heart attack with the band at Louder Than Life festival on September 26, 2021. Fortunately, he was recovered, following life-saving surgery at the nearby Rudd Heart and Lung Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

Faulkner marked the one year anniversary of the event by updating fans on Facebook alongside a clip from Louder Than Life. In the accompanying post, which you can read in full below, the guitarist, known affectionately as ‘Falcon’, revealed that he underwent a second heart procedure back in August. 

“One year ago today. Less than an hour before my life changed forever. 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.

“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.

“I’m not completely out of the woods yet. 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. The doctors were okay for me to tour Europe, but as soon as I got back I had to go under again for another open-heart surgery. So 3 days after we played Belgium, they went in, removed the sack and fixed the leak.

“So I'm 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 #50heavymetalyears tour starting in a few weeks. My 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. We had to lose @aftershockfestival in order for me to recover, but it looks like it's still gonna be a Kick-Ass festival.

“Look after yourselves and your loved ones, you never know what's round the corner. Stay safe and see you all soon. Much love, Falcon x RHRF DOTF.”

Faulkner recently told Guitar World that the experience had helped him to develop a new sense of perspective in his career and personal life. 

“I want to just be myself and do what I do and play with Priest and play guitar and be a dad,” said the guitarist. “But I have more of an awareness now of what can happen to anyone at any time. That’s scary, but it puts things in perspective and makes you appreciate what you have. 

“It was such an emotional moment when I put my foot back on the stage in Peoria, Illinois, for the first date I played after my incident. To get up there and hear the fans cheering and showing their appreciation was like a celebration of everything I’m so lucky to still be involved with. So I know I have a lot to be thankful for.”

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Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk (opens in new tab), which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.