Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner has released an update on his condition following emergency heart surgery.

“I’ve always been grateful for the opportunities I’ve been presented with. I’ve always considered myself THE most fortunate man ever - to be able to play my favorite music - with my favorite band - to my favorite people around the world,” the rocker declared in a message to fans that was shared with UCR. “Today just being able to type this to you all is the biggest gift of all.”

Faulkner went on to detail the scary situation that landed him in hospital.

“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 whilst playing ‘Painkiller’ as my aorta ruptured and started to spill blood into my chest cavity,” Faulkner revealed. “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,” he continued. “I was taken to nearby Rudd Heart & Lung Center and quickly went into what turned out to be a 10 ½ hour emergency open heart surgery.”

The intense procedure required parts of the guitarist’s chest to be replaced with “mechanical components.” “I’m literally made of metal now,” Faulkner slyly remarked.

Though he’s in recovery now, the rocker can’t help but wonder what would have happened had things gone differently.

“If it was a full set, would I have played until total collapse?," he pondered. "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? The amazing Heart & Lung Center was 4 miles away from the gig site – if it had been further away…”

Faulkner -- who said he had no history of heart disease prior to this incident -- closed his message by thanking his friends, family, Judas Priest and their fans for their support during this difficult time.

“I thank you all so much," the rocker affirmed. "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!”

Judas Priest postponed their 50th anniversary tour in the wake of Faulkner's sudden heart problem. "As soon as we have any updates from his doctors on when we can reschedule the dates, we will of course announce them," the band assured fans.

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