Richie Faulkner said he's grateful to be alive after watching footage of the exact moment his aorta ruptured while performing onstage with Judas Priest.

"I can see in my face the confusion and anguish I was feeling while playing 'Painkiller' as my aorta ruptured and started to spill blood into my chest cavity," Faulkner explained in a press release. "Knowing what I know now, I see a dying man. ... From what I've been told by my surgeon, people with this usually don't make it to the hospital alive."

You can watch video of Judas Priest's set-closing performance of "Painkiller" on Sept. 26 at the Louder than Life festival in Louisville below. Faulkner was rushed to the hospital immediately after the show.

In his first public statement since the incident, Faulkner marveled at the coincidences and circumstances that allowed him to survive. "It could have all ended so differently – we only had an hour's set that night due to Metallica's performance after us – and it does cross my mind if it was a full set, would I have played until total collapse? 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 and Lung Center was four miles away from the gig – if it had been further away ... ."

After more than 10 hours in surgery, and with five parts of his chest replaced with mechanical components – "I'm literally made of metal now," he quipped – Faulkner is on the road to recovery. "I've been moved to tears and humbled by friends, family, my fantastic band crew and management, and also you guys sending me videos and messages of love and support during the last week," he stated. "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!"

He also urged fans to take care of themselves. "One last thing, maniacs, this came totally out of the blue for me – no history of a bad heart, no clogged arteries, etc.," he said. "My point is I don’t even have high cholesterol, and this could’ve been the end for me. If you can get yourselves checked – do it for me, please."

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