Malcolm Young, the guitarist who co-founded legendary Australian rock band AC/DC with his brother Angus, passed away on Saturday at the age of 64.
The sad news of Malcolm Young’s death was announced on AC/DC’s website and Facebook page, as the late rhythm guitarist was described as a “perfectionist and a unique man” who “always stuck to his guns.” Lead guitarist Angus Young also added his own tribute to his younger brother, whom he had created music with for more than four decades.
“As his brother it is hard to express in words what he has meant to me during my life, the bond we had was unique and very special.
“He leaves behind an enormous legacy that will live on forever.
“Malcolm, job well done.”
Malcolm Young’s cause of death was not mentioned on AC/DC/s official statement, but several publications, including the Independent, cited a statement from the Young family which said he died after a three-year battle with dementia, surrounded by his loved ones.
“Renowned for his musical prowess, Malcolm was a songwriter, guitarist, performer, producer and visionary who inspired many. From the outset he knew what he wanted to achieve and, along with his younger brother, took to the world stage giving their all at every show. Nothing less would do for their fans.”
As recalled by CBS News, the Young brothers formed AC/DC in 1973, with Malcolm remaining in the band until 2014, when it was announced that he would be going on hiatus to deal with his dementia. He eventually announced his retirement from music in September of that year, though dementia was not the only health issue Malcolm had dealt with in his final years. In December 2014, Angus Young spoke to Seattle radio station KISW, confirming that his older brother had undergone two unrelated medical procedures on top of his widely-circulated condition.
“He had quite a few things,” Angus said, as quoted by Ultimate Classic Rock.
“He had a lung operation; he had a heart operation. He seemed to get everything hit him at once, besides his dementia. So he had quite a lot of things going on.”
With Malcolm Young’s dementia forcing his unexpected retirement from music, he was replaced by his nephew Stevie, the son of his oldest brother Stephen. According to the Independent, Stevie Young was no stranger to AC/DC, having filled in for his uncle Malcolm in the late 1980s during the band’s Blow Up Your Video world tour. With both men having a “striking” facial resemblance and similar guitar playing techniques, it wasn’t unusual for fans not to notice that Stevie had replaced Malcolm, the publication added.
Malcolm Young’s death came less than a month after his older brother, former Easybeats guitarist and AC/DC co-producer George Young, died at the age of 70. As Rolling Stone recalled, George was notable for suggesting to his brothers that they hire Bon Scott to replace vocalist Dave Evans in 1974. With Scott onboard and George Young and former Easybeats bandmate Harry Vanda co-producing, AC/DC went on to record five studio albums and one live album, while establishing themselves as an up-and-coming force in the rock music scene ahead of their Mutt Lange-produced breakout album, Highway to Hell.
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