The band's longtime guitarist will miss the upcoming 'Firepower' tour launch

By Scott T. Sterling

Heavy metal legends Judas Priest have revealed that the band’s longtime guitarist, Glenn Tipton, is battling Parkinson’s disease.

Related: Judas Priest’s K.K. Downing Details ‘Heavy Duty’ Metal Memoir

The band shared the sobering information today (Feb. 12), adding that Tipton will miss the launch of the upcoming Firepower tour, with guitarist Andy Sneap stepping in at his personal request.

“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,” Judas Priest shared in a press 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 touring as such.”

Tipton shared a personal message as well.

“I want everyone to know that it’s vital that the Judas Priest tour go ahead and that I am not leaving the band – it’s simply that my role has changed,” the guitarist explained. “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.”

“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!,” added his bandmates Rob Halford, Ian Hill, Richie Faulkner and Scott Travis.

“We are not surprised by Glenn’s insistence that we complete the Firepower tour and thank Andy [Sneap] 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!”

Glenn Tipton joined Judas Priest in 1974, and along with bassist Ian Hill, is the only other member to appear on all of the band’s albums.

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