Richie Faulkner is feeling lucky to be alive. Last month, during Judas Priest’s set at the Louder Than Life festival in Louisville, Kentucky, the guitarist experienced an aortic dissection – a life-threatening condition in which an aneurism/swelling of the aorta (the main artery that carries blood away from the heart) ruptures.
“I can see in my face the confusion and anguish I was feeling whilst playing ‘Painkiller’ as my aorta ruptured and started to spill blood into my chest cavity,” commented Faulkner today.
While an aortic dissection can prove fatal, luckily Faulkner was just four miles away from the Rudd Heart & Lung Center in Louisville where he underwent a lifesaving ten-and-a-half hour operation. “Five parts of my chest were replaced with mechanical components… I’m literally made of metal now,” he joked.
“I’ve been moved to tears and humbled by friends, family, my fantastic band, crew and management,” continues Faulkner, “and also [by fans] sending me videos and messages of love and support during the last week – I thank you all so much and although I have a recovery road ahead of me, 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!”
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Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar World, Guitar Player and MusicRadar in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.