Judas Priest Guitarist Glenn Tipton Battling Parkinsons, Will Scale Back Full-Time Touring

Judas Priest
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Rob Halford, musicians Richie Faulkner, Glenn Tipton, and Ian Hill of Judas Priest perform in concert at Cedar Park Center on May 14, 2015 in Cedar Park, Texas.  

Judas Priest announced on Monday (Feb. 12) that longtime guitarist Glenn Tipton will be stepping aside from a full-time role in the band to deal with complications from the neurodegenerative disease Parkinson's. The iconic heavy metal group released a statement describing the less active part the 70 year-old guitarist will take going forward, which comes after he joined the band in 1974 and played on all 18 of their albums. 

"Ten years ago Glenn was diagnosed to have the onset of the early stages of Parkinson’s - from then until recently Glenn has lived his life as the great heavy metal guitar player he has always been, maintaining by his own definition a standard of quality and performance that is incredibly important," read the statement. 

"Right now Glenn is able to play and perform some of the Priest songs that are less challenging but due to the nature of Parkinson's progression he wants to let you all know that he won't be be touring as such - True to the metal spirit of 'the show must go on' Glenn has requested Andy Sneap to fly the flag on stage for him."

Tipton wrote that he wanted fans to know that he thinks it's "vital" that the band continue to tour and clarified that he is not leaving the band, "it's simply that my role has changed. I don’t rule out the chance to go on stage as and when I feel able to blast out some Priest! So at some point in the not too distant future I’m really looking forward to seeing all of our wonderful metal maniacs once again."

Singer Rob Halford, guitarist Richie Faulkner, bassist Ian Hill and drummer Scott Travis added: "We have been privileged to witness Glenn’s determination and steadfast commitment over the years, showing his passion and self belief through the writing, recording and performing sessions with Priest - he is a true metal hero! We are not surprised by Glenn’s insistence that we complete the Firepower tour and thank Andy for joining us to make Glenn’s wishes become real -

"As Glenn has said we also can’t wait to have him with us at any time any place on the road.....
We love you Glenn!” The news came just weeks after the band's former drummer, Dave Holland, died at age 69.

See the full statement below.