Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner has shared details of the on-stage medical emergency that resulted in him having heart surgery last week.
The musician, 41, said he had suffered an aortic aneurysm that put his life in immediate danger.
“My aorta ruptured and started to spill blood into my chest cavity,” he told Rolling Stone in a statement.
“From what my surgeon has told me, people with this don’t usually make it to the hospital alive.”
On September 26, the band was performing at the Louder In Life Festival in Kentucky when the horrific incident occurred.
Faulkner miraculously completed the show before being rushed to the nearby University of Louisville’s Rudd Heart and Lung Centre.
He was taken to the hospital for emergency open heart surgery, during which parts of his chest “were replaced with mechanical components,” he told Rolling Stone.
“Now I’m literally made of metal,” he added.
The rest of Judas Priest’s US tour was subsequently cancelled, but Faulkner’s partner, Mariah Lynch, assured fans that he was in “stable” condition.
“[He’s] so tough that he finished the show and kept the hair flips coming,” he said on Instagram. “No one compares to him. Without him, we’d be lost.”
Faulkner stated that he had “no history of a bad heart, no clogged arteries, or high cholesterol,” and that the aneurysm occurred “completely out of the blue.”
“As I watch footage from the Louder Than Life Festival in Kentucky, I can see the confusion and anguish I was feeling while playing Painkiller in my face,” he added.
The musician, who joined Judas Piest in 2011, said he was trying not to think about what might have happened if a specialist heart unit hadn’t been nearby.
“We can always drive ourselves insane with these things, but thankfully I’m still alive,” he said. “Whatever the circumstances, I see a dying man when I watch that footage, knowing what I know now.”
“My point is that I don’t even have high cholesterol, and this could have been the end of me,” he concluded. “If you can get yourself checked, please do it for me.”
The London-born musician has appeared on Judas Priest’s last two studio albums, Redeemer of Souls in 2014 and Firepower in 2018, the latter of which charted at number five in the United Kingdom.
On October 15, the band will release Judas Priest: 50 Heavy Metal Years of Music, a career-spanning box set.