On the eve of their farewell tour, Judas Priest has confirmed that KK Downing has retired from the band and will not be participating in the "Epitaph" tour. Suitably sincere best wishes have been issued by both sides, but you have to wonder why Downing, who has been with the band throughout their history, would quit when the end is in sight.
Not a lot of details, but the story can be found here:
CANOE -- JAM! Music - Artists - Judas Priest : K.K. Downing quits Judas Priest
Here's more detail here: