Judas Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton is to stop touring with the band 10 years after he was diagnosed with the onset of early Parkinson's disease.
The 70-year-old musician had, until recently, continued to play to fans around the world. He is currently able to play the "less challenging" Priest songs, the band said, but due to the nature of Parkinson's progression he "wants to let you all know that he won't be touring as such".
Instead Tipton has asked Andy Sneap to play guitar with the band in his place.
"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," Tipton said in a statement.
"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 again."
Tipton's bandmates Ian Hill, Rob Halford, Richie Faulkner and Scott Travis added: "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!
"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 begin the North American leg of their Firepower tour on 13 March and conclude it on 1 May in Sat Antonio, Texas.