As confirmed by his family (via Pitchfork), AC/DC rhythm guitarist and founding member Malcolm Young has died. No specific cause of death has been given, but Young had been suffering from dementia and had retired from the band in 2014 so he could seek treatment. He was also diagnosed with lung cancer in 2008, but it was successfully treated. Young was 64.
A statement on AC/DC’s Facebook page refers to young as the “driving force behind the band” due to his “enormous dedication and commitment,” also noting that the “took great pride in all that he endeavored” and that this “loyalty to the fans was unsurpassed.” Angus Young also added that the bond they shared as brothers was “unique and very special,” saying Malcolm “leaves behind an enormous legacy that will live on forever.”
Born in Scotland in 1953, Young and his family moved to Sydney, Australia in the ‘60s. By 1973, he reportedly approached his brother Angus with the idea to start a “no-nonsense” rock band, with them choosing the name AC/DC to reflect the high-energy music they wanted to make. Across a few lineup changes, Angus and Malcolm Young stuck with the band—though Malcolm left briefly so he could address a drinking problem, with nephew Stevie Young replacing him—and the band quickly became one of the most popular and successful rock bands in history.
Young’s last live performance with AC/DC was on the band’s 2008 tour supporting Black Ice, and in 2014 he stepped down to address health concerns related to lapses in concentration and short-term memory. He was eventually diagnosed with dementia and retired permanently, giving AC/DC his blessing to continue making music in his absence.
Young is survived by his wife and two children, who were reportedly with him when he died.