It can't be easy for longtime Judas Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton to watch the band head out on tour without him in the live lineup as he faces his Parkinson's disease diagnosis — but he's still taken the time to assure fans that the group's upcoming shows will be just as powerful as ever.

Tipton offered his thoughts in a new Facebook post, telling fans that he's known about his Parkinson's diagnosis for four years, and was likely experiencing symptoms for up to a decade before that. "I knew something was wrong with my co-ordination and fluency regarding my playing but I worked around it and battled on," wrote Tipton. "I have good days and bad days, but the disease is degenerative and I would never want to compromise the greatest metal band in the world."

Although the band members insist Tipton was in the studio for the group's new Firepower LP, he knew he'd need assistance from backing tapes if he joined Priest on tour — an idea he rejected outright. To fill the void, the band enlisted Firepower producer Andy Sneap to play Tipton's parts during the tour. It's all unknown territory for fans who've come to count on the guitarist's steady presence, but he's maintaining a positive outlook.

Adding that he's "sure the band will be as strong than ever," Tipton went on to thank fans for their support, saying he's been "overwhelmed" by the response to his diagnosis. And while there's obviously no way to truly tell what's in store for him, he made it clear he doesn't consider himself retired from making music — and still has unfinished business with Judas Priest.

"It's not the end for me," continued Tipton. "I’ll still be able to write and record and on good days even join the band on stage for a few songs — with new medication and advances being made who knows what the future holds — but one thing's for sure — it will certainly involve Priest!"

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