Glenn Tipton, longtime guitarist for heavy metal pioneers Judas Priest, has revealed he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

In a statement published on the band’s website, Judas Priest today announced that 70-year-old Tipton is set to take it easier as time goes on, while also revealing that he has been battling early stages of the disease for a decade now.

“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,” the band wrote in a statement.

“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,” they continued. “True to the metal spirit of ‘the show must go on’ Glenn has requested Andy Sneap to fly the flag on stage for him.”

“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,” said Tipton. “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.”

This news comes only a matter of days after Mr. Big percussionist Pat Torpey passed away at the age of 64 following a four year battle with the same disease.

“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,” stated Tipton’s bandmates Rob Halford, Richie Faulkner, Ian Hill, and Scott Travis.

“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!”

Judas Priest were last on Australian shores for the 2015 Soundwave Festival in support of their 17th studio album, Redeemer Of Souls. While the band have not announced any future Aussie dates, it seems possible that we may not see Glenn Tipton, who has been in the band since 1974, on tour with the group any more.

Check out Judas Priest’s classic hit ‘Breaking The Law’: