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Musician Richie Faulkner has shared details of the moment he suffered an aortic aneurysm while performing onstage in Kentucky.
The Judas Priest guitarist was playing with his band at the Louder Than Life festival in Louisville last month, when he experienced a medical emergency.
After being rushed to a nearby hospital, he underwent “emergency major heart surgery”. His partner, Mariah Lynch, later told his followers that the operation had been a success.
Faulkner has since issued a statement saying he had been “moved to tears” by the outpouring of support from “friends, family, my fantastic band, crew and management”, along with his fans.
“I think 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!” he said via Rolling Stone.
“As I watch footage from the Louder Than Life festival in Kentucky, I can see in my face the confusion and anguish I was feeling while playing ‘Painkiller’ as my aorta ruptured and started to spill blood into my chest cavity.
“I was having what my doctor called an aortic aneurysm and complete aortic dissection. From what I’ve been told by my surgeon, people with this don’t usually make it to the hospital alive.”
Faulkner said things could have ended very differently had the band not had to play a shorter set than usual, due to Metallica’s scheduled headline performance after them.
“Would I have played until total collapse?” he asked. “If it hadn’t happened in such a high adrenaline situation would my body have been able to keep going long enough to reach the hospital?”
He added: “We can always drive ourselves crazy with these things but I’m still alive thankfully. Whatever the circumstances, when watching that footage, the truth is, knowing what I know now, I see a dying man.”
Faulker also clarified to fans that his medical episode had come “totally out of the blue”, as he has no history of heart problems.
“If you can get yourselves checked – do it for me please,” he said. “Lots of love and see you down the front again soon.”