Yesterday, the metal world was shocked and saddened to hear that K.K. Downing has retired from Judas Priest and will not be joining them on their farewell Epitaph tour. However, Downing has already released a statement regarding his departure. Explaining his decision, Downing said the following:

“Dear friends,

It is with much regret that I will not be with you this summer. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your concerns about my health. Please rest assured that I am O.K.

There has been an ongoing breakdown in working relationship between myself, elements of the band, and the band’s management for some time. Therefore I have decided to step down rather than to tour with negative sentiments as I feel that this would be a deception to you, our cherished fans.

However I would urge you to please support the Priest as I have no doubt that it will be a show not to be missed.

All my love and respect.”

As sad as this still is, hearing Downing’s statement explains a lot. We were surprised by Judas Priest’s farewell tour to begin with since Downing seemed eager to hit the road again in a blog posting he wrote one month prior to the final tour announcement. Whether he knew at the time of writing that post that Priest would be embarking on their farewell tour is probable but also unknown, though in postings since seemed “ok” with Priest saying goodbye.

We could speculate over so many small details, but at the end of the day it doesn’t change the fact that Priest will not be joined by K.K. Downing. While we have no doubt that Priest will still be awesome with new guy Richie Faulkner, but it’s still a bummer nonetheless.

[via and]