LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner is resting at home after suffering a life-threatening heart complication while on stage.
The heavy metal band performed at Louder than Life Sept. 26 and during the set, Faulkner suffered an acute cardiac aortic dissection.
An cardiac aortic dissection is a separation of the aorta into two areas of blood flow which can cause a number of complications including a heart to rupture.
Faulkner was taken to the Rudd Heart and Lung Center at University of Louisville (UofL) Health at Jewish Hospital after the concert.
A cardiothoracic surgery team led by UofL Health's Dr. Siddharth Pahwa completed a 10 hour surgery replacing an aortic valve and ascending aorta replacement with a hemiarch replacement.
"Mr. Faulkner is alive today because the stars aligned," Dr. Pahwa said. "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."
In a statement released through Judas Priest, Faulkner expressed his gratitude for the life-saving operation performed at the Rudd Heart and Lung Center.
The guitarist, who has been with the group for over 10 years, said parts of his chest have been replaced with "mechanical components." He said he could see the moment when the complication happened when reviewing concert footage.
"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," Faulkner said in the statement.
Faulkner said he had no history of heart complications and that the aliment came completely "out of the blue."
"My point is I don’t even have high cholesterol and this could’ve been the end for me," Faulkner said in closing. "If you can get yourselves checked – do it for me please."
UofL Health surgeons are expected to speak on Faulkner's surgery and recovery and the give the signs to look out for in these types of medical emergencies.