Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner recently underwent "major emergency heart surgery." According to his girlfriend, Mariah Lynch, Faulkner is now recovering.

"Thank you to everyone for all your messages," Lynch, daughter of former Dokken guitarist George Lynch, wrote on Instagram. "Richie underwent major emergency heart surgery. He is stable and resting. If you know him, you know how tough and strong he is. So tough that he finished the show and kept the hair flips coming. There's no one like him. We'd be lost without him."

The surgery triggered a postponement for the remainder of Judas Priest's 50 Years of Heavy Metal tour, which had been rescheduled from 2020 and finally resumed last month.

"In the meantime, we are all sending love to our Falcon to wish him a speedy recovery," the band wrote on its website. "As soon as we have any updates from his doctors on when we can reschedule the dates, we will of course announce them - tickets will be valid."

Faulkner has been a member of Judas Priest since 2011, when he replaced cofounder K.K. Downing. "We didn’t want a copycat, we didn’t want somebody that was just gonna replicate things," singer Rob Halford said in a 2015 interview.

"And the fans were so receptive. There was no negativity toward the guy. Let’s face it, to some extent Richie saved Judas Priest, because if we hadn’t have found him at the crucial time that we were looking for a guitar player, things could have turned out quite differently."

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