Heavy metal icon Glenn Tipton has bowed out of touring with Judas Priest due to Parkinson’s disease.
Glenn was diagnosed with the degenerative disorder a decade ago but carried on in his role with the band regardless. Sadly, due to the nature of Parkinson's progression, he won’t be touring any more with Andy Sneap filling in for him.
Despite his illness, Glenn hasn’t ruled out uniting with Judas Priest on stage at some point in the future.
A statement from Judas Priest reads: “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.
“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.
“True to the metal spirit of 'the show must go on' Glenn has requested Andy Sneap to fly the flag on stage for him.”
Judas Priest performing in 2015 © PA Images
Glenn said: “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.
“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.”
Rob Halford, Richie Faulkner, Ian Hill and Scott Travis said: “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!”
70-year-old Glenn joined Judas Priest 44 years ago and has contributed to all 18 of the band's studio albums from 1974’s ‘Rocka Rolla’ through to the upcoming ‘Firepower’, which is released on Friday 9th March.
Judas Priest are playing an extensive North American tour in support of the album throughout March, April and May before coming to Europe in the summer for a string of festivals and headline shows.
Their sole UK date takes place at Bloodstock Festival on Friday 10th August.