AC/DC co-founder Malcolm Young has died at age 64. A message on the Australian hard rock band’s website revealed that the guitarist and co-founder of the iconic band passed away with his family by his bedside three years after he took a leave of absence from the band due to health reasons. Malcolm Young was later reported to be diagnosed with early dementia.
In a statement about Malcolm Young’s death, AC/DC described the late rocker as “the driving force behind the band” that he co-founded with his brother, Angus, in 1973.
Malcolm Young’s death comes just weeks after the death of his older brother, George. The Easybeats guitarist and music producer, who played bass with AC/DC early on and produced some of his younger brothers’ most successful releases, including High Voltage, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap and Let There Be Rock, died on October 22, at age 70.
Following the announcement of Malcolm Young’s death, many celebrities took to social media to pay tribute to the late rock icon, including fellow bands Foghat and the Trews. Stryper’s Michael Sweet wrote: ” So sorry to hear about the passing of Malcolm Young. I grew up on AC/DC and always admired his playing. RIP and Godspeed my friend.”
Ozzy Osbourne also posted a tribute to his late friend, writing,
“So sad to learn of the passing of yet another friend, Malcolm Young. He will be sadly missed. God Bless @ACDC.”
Guitar legend Tom Morello wrote: “Best in rock power AC/DC’s #MalcolmYoung, #1 greatest rhythm guitarist in the entire history of rock n roll. THANK YOU for everything.”
Metallica’s Lars Ulrich wrote:
“Malcolm, Thank you for being an integral part of the soundtrack to my life. Your music is the definition of timeless and inspiring. RIP.”
Kiss frontman Paul Stanley also posted a tribute to Young, writing, “The driving engine of AC/DC has died. A tragic end for a sometimes unsung icon. One of the true greats. RIP.”
Other celebrities mourning the death of Malcolm Young include Eddie Van Halen, Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott, and Whitesnake lead singer David Coverdale. You can see celebrity reaction to Malcolm Young’s death below.
It is a sad day in rock and roll. Malcolm Young was my friend and the heart and soul of AC/DC. I had some of the best times of my life with him on our 1984 European tour. He will be missed and my deepest condolences to his family, bandmates and friends.— Eddie Van Halen (@eddievanhalen) November 18, 2017
"I’m sad to hear of the passing of Malcolm Young. It was great to get the opportunity to open for AC/DC on the Highway To Hell tour & we certainly learned a thing or two. He was an incredible guitar player & the glue for that band onstage & off. RIP Malcolm, say hi to Bon." - Joe— Def Leppard (@DefLeppard) November 18, 2017
Rest in peace Malcolm Young. Our thoughts are with his friends, fans and family. https://t.co/77kXwJjX7l— FOGHAT (@FOGHAT) November 18, 2017
Rest In Peace Malcolm Young, thanks for all the great riffs— The Trews (@thetrews) November 18, 2017
Our Thoughts & Prayers Are With His Family, Friends & Fans...Great Guy ...A Pleasure To Know...Truly Missed, Malcolm...XX https://t.co/1ECM7urBN8— David Coverdale (@davidcoverdale) November 18, 2017
Even during Malcolm’s illness, AC/DC remained a family affair. After Malcolm Young retired from AC/DC, the brothers’ nephew, Stevie Young, filled in for him. Last year, Angus Young told Rolling Stone he sometimes had to do a double take when he heard Stevie playing Malcolm’s famous riffs because it sounded “so Mal.” Angus also revealed that he always looked up to his older brother, even in the recording studio.
“He was older than me – I always looked up to him,” Angus said. “In the studio, I would fiddle about with guitar sounds – and fiddle my way right out of the ball field. Malcolm would dial me in, a big, fat sound, and I’d go, ‘Oh, wow!'”
There was never ever a question of disbanding AC/DC when Malcolm Young’s health began to fail. Angus said his brother was always one to “battle through”—even in times of crisis and that he planned to follow suit.
“He had that drive, and I feel obligated to keep it going, maybe because I was there in the beginning with him,” Angus said.
You can see Malcolm Young performing with AC/DC during the band’s early 1980s heyday in the video below.
[Featured Image by Newsmakers/Getty Images]