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KK Downing Leaves Judas Priest

The guitarist, a founding member of Priest, has announced his retirement from the band

A statement from Judas Priest said: "It is with regret that Judas Priest announce that K.K.Downing has formally retired from the band and will not be joining them on their forthcoming Epitaph 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 they should go ahead with their tour and not let the fans down all around the world."

31 year old guitarist Richie Faulkner will replace Downing on the band's tour.

Priest headline the High Voltage Festival in July and will be out on the road in the UK prior to that along with Queensryche. They are also expected to release a new studio album in 2012.

Here are the dates:

15/07/2011 - Newport Centre
16/07/2011 - O2 Apollo Manchester
17/07/2011 - Doncaster Dome
19/07/2011 - SECC, Glasgow
20/07/2011 - Newcastle Metro Radio Arena
21/07/2011 - Wolverhampton Civic Hall
23/07/2011 - High Voltage, London
24/07/2011 - Bournemouth International Centre

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