Early this morning (Feb. 12), Judas Priest announced via their Facebook page that guitarist Glenn Tipton won't be with the band on their upcoming tour, due to his struggle with Parkinson's disease. According to the statement, he was diagnosed with the early onset of Parkinson's ten years ago. "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."

In the statement, Tipton notes that he is still a member of the band, and that he may join them at some point during the tour. "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!"

Filling in for Tipton will be Andy Sneap, of the British metal band Hell (he's also a former member of Sabbat). Sneap co-produced Priest's upcoming album, Firepower with Tom Allom; the album is due out on March 9. Sneap has worked as a producer/mixer/engineer for a number of metal bands, including Megadeth, Amon Amarth, Arch Enemy, Soulfly, Accept and Exodus, among others.

Priest's current lineup includes singer Rob Halford and bassist Ian Hill, both of whom have been with the band since their debut album, 1974's Rocka Rolla (although Halford left the band from 1992 - 2003). Rounding out the lineup is drummer Scott Travis, who joined in 1989, and guitarist Richie Faulkner, who joined in 2011, replacing the other original member of the band's guitar team, K.K. Downing.

Read the band's Facebook post below. Judas Priest's tour kicks off March 13 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

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