Sensational news from the Judas Priest camp this morning. KK Downing has retired and Richie Faulkner has replaced him.
The band have released a full statement which you can read below.
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"It is with regret that Judas Priest announce that KK Downing has formally retired from the band and will therefore not be joining them on their forthcoming Epitaph world tour.
"The band respect his decision and naturally all wish him well.
"Having thought long and hard about how to proceed, Rob, Glenn, Ian and Scott unanimously agreed that that they should go ahead with the tour and not let the fans down all around the world.
"Fate also stepped in and delivered the perfect replacement, 31-year-old British guitar player Richie Faulkner. He has blended into the band perfectly and is a great talent who is going to help set the stage on fire.
"The Epitaph tour will include songs from every Priest studio album and also tracks they have never before performed on stage plus all the old favourites.
"With a new album due to be released next year, the Metal Gods are preparing to tour the planet once more - Heavy Metal at it's best, complete with lasers, lights, bikes and hellfire!! It's a show not to be missed!!