Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner is recovering after undergoing emergency heart surgery.
The iconic rock band initially announced earlier this week that it would be postponing the remainder of their 50 Heavy Metal Years U.S. tour dates after the musician was hospitalized due to "major heart condition issues" and on Tuesday Faulkner’s partner, Mariah Lynch, provided a health update in which she revealed that he was resting after the surgery.
"Thank you to everyone for all your messages," she wrote in an Instagram post. "I will try to get back to you as soon as I can. Richie underwent major emergency heart surgery. He is stable & resting. If you know him, you know how tough & strong he is. So tough that he finished the show & kept the hair flips coming. There’s no one like him. We’d be lost without him."
Judas Priest's tour was expected to wrap up in November. In an earlier statement, they said the new dates would be confirmed once doctors gave the all-clear.
"As soon as we have any updates from his doctors on when we can reschedule the dates we will of course announce them - tickets will be valid," the statement on Instagram read.
Faulkner joined the band in 2011, following the departure of longtime guitarist K. K. Downing after 40 years. Since then, Downing has spoken out against the band, stating during an interview with Bleeding4metal that he was "shocked" when they did not ask him back when their second guitarist, Glenn Tipton, stepped back from performing after revealing he had Parkinson's disease.
"At the time I quit the band, I had more energy than anyone else onstage," he said, according to Ultimate Classic Rock. "In fact, that is one of the reasons I quit. The band just seemed to have slowed down to a steady walk. Even Richie would do well to keep up with me if I rejoined. It seems wrong that Scott, Richie and Andy are not officially members of Judas Priest as they are on a wage. So, only two members are onstage right now. Yet they don't want me back."
Faulkner released a statement in response, dismissing Downing's claims as untrue.
"Regarding a recent untruthful article, I'm not sure why anyone feels they have the right to openly discuss others' financial standings, true or otherwise. This seems to be intended as a swipe at the band and an attempt to devalue my and Scott's position in the band," he said, noting that "for the record, I have not been paid a wage since 2012 and have always been given creative input in this band since day one."
"This band of brothers have been nothing but a family to me and both band and management have always stated and demonstrated they wanted a band member," he said.
Faulkner further stated that it was "an honor" to perform with Judas Priest.
"It's a shame that someone I held in such high regard feels the need to take these low roads when I've done absolutely nothing but give my absolute all to a position he left of his own accord,” he said, adding that Downing’s comments were "uninformed, unfounded, unnecessary and very unfortunate and disappointing."
"We've always stood firm to not get involved in internet click bait," he explained. "But I felt this crossed a line for me personally and wanted to set these untruths straight myself."
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