AC/DC Confirms Guitarist Malcolm Young Stepping Down Due To Illness
AC/DC has issued a statement confirming widespread reports that founding guitarist Malcolm Young was stepping away from the band due to illness. The statement, however, refuted rumors that the group was breaking up as a result, saying that the legendary Australian act will "continue to make music."
The full statement read: "After 40 years of life dedicated to AC/DC, guitarist and founding member Malcolm Young is taking a break from the band due to ill health. Malcolm would like to thank the group's diehard legions of fans worldwide for their never-ending love and support. In light of this news, AC/DC asks that Malcolm and his family's privacy be respected during this time. The band will continue to make music."
The statement did not indicate the nature or extent of Malcolm's condition, but several Australian reports indicated that he may have had a stroke last month that left him unable to perform, either live or in the studio.
One source told The Age that the Young family was mulling full-time care for the guitarist, who was said to be having difficulty remembering familiar faces and communicating.
While plans for a tour to mark the group's 40th anniversary remain unclear, singer Brian Johnson told the U.K.'s Telegraph that the band was "definitely getting together in May in Vancouver" to begin work on its 16th studio album.
Without naming Malcolm, Johnson also said in the interview, "One of the boys has a debilitating illness, but I don't want to say too much about it. He is very proud and private, a wonderful chap. We've been pals for 35 years and I look up to him very much."
AC/DC's last album was 2008's Black Ice, one of the group's most successful later albums, which was followed by a nearly two-year world tour.