Judas Priest's Rob Halford Reveals He Battled Prostate Cancer Last Year, But Now 'Is In Remission'
Rob Halford is in remission after facing prostate cancer last year.
In an interview with Heavy Consequence, the Judas Priest frontman revealed he had a "little cancer battle" during the pandemic, but "told hardly anyone."
"That happened while we were all locked down, so things happen for a reason as far as time sequence of events," the 70-year-old told the outlet. "I have nothing but gratitude to be at this point in my life, still doing what I love the most."
The revelation comes as he released an additional chapter to his 2020 book Confess and wrote that he had a "draining year" after going through radiation treatment in early 2020 and getting an appendectomy around that same time, according to the outlet.
"It's been a draining year, I can't deny it, but I'm delighted to have come through it," Halford wrote. "I feel like I've had the most thorough MOT that a Metal God can have."
Scott Dudelson/Getty Rob Halford
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The singer explained that he was "wallowing in my anger" as he faced the disease but got a "reality check" after seeing a commercial from a local hospital.
"It showed kids with cancer. Some only babies. They were lying there, with tubes coming out of them, fighting for their lives. They didn't know what was going on…" he wrote. "It made me feel totally ashamed of myself; Rob, how dare you be so selfish? And from that second, I change my entire mental attitude towards my disease."
Halford — who lives in Phoenix with his partner Thomas — said he learned of his diagnosis after getting tested after feeling symptoms since 2017. He had prostatectomy surgery in July 2020 to remove the cancer, and encourages men to get checked frequently for the disease.
"I felt a combination of shock, horror, and oddly, relief — at least now I know!…'Am I going to die?' It was all I could think of. I know blokes who've died of prostate cancer," he wrote in the book. "'No, you're not going to die, Rob,' said Dr. Ali."
Last month, Halford's bandmate Richie Faulkner suffered an onstage aortic aneurysm while performing at Louder Than Life Festival in Louisville. (Faulkner was rushed off stage and underwent a 10-hour surgery.)
"The good news is he's healing, and his therapy will be picking up the guitar and getting back into these new songs for Priest and getting ready for the next batch of road work," Halford told Heavy Consequence adding that he was "still shook up" by what happened. "I've had a couple of conversations with him, and he sounds great. I'm waiting to hear that he's picked up the guitar – he's probably picked up the guitar already and his doctors are saying, 'Put that guitar down!'"
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Last year, after the release of his book Confess, the singer opened up to PEOPLE about his experience as the gay frontman of the metal band.
"Here I was in this super macho, alpha male experience," he said. "It was very difficult for me in front of thousands of people in the work that I do. It didn't really affect my work, per se, until the addiction started to really take hold. That's when I started to suffer."
He also spoke about a near-overdose experience that led him to decide to be completely sober.
"By the mid-'80s, I was on the rock n' roll train to hell," he said then. "Thank God the brakes were put on at the right time."
"That was definitely a cry for help," he says. "The fact that I was laying on my bed, taking a pill and a slug of Jack Daniels and mumbling, 'Nobody loves me, nobody loves me…' and then suddenly, clarity. 'You idiot!' If I hadn't done that, we wouldn't be speaking today. Something clicked inside of me."