Malcolm Young dead: AC/DC co-founder dies aged 64

Roisin O'Connor

AC/DC’s co-founder and creator Malcolm Young has died aged 64.

The legendary guitarist passed away surrounded by family, following a long battle with dementia.

Born 6 January 1953 in Glasgow, Scotland, before emigrating with his family to Australia in 1963, Young was best known for being the driving force behind the band he co-founded with his younger brother Angus in 1973.

He wrote the band’s material and came up with many of their biggest and best guitar riffs. AC/DC would go on to become one of the biggest rock bands in history, racking up hits including “Back In Black”, “Highway to Hell”, “You Shook Me All Night Long”, and many more. The brothers were credited as co-writers on every song they recorded, from their 1975 debut High Voltage to 2014’s Rock or Bust.

In April 2014 it was announced that Young would take a temporary leave of absence to receive treatment for dementia, before retiring permanently in September that same year.

He was replaced by his nephew Stevie for the band’s last tour promoting the 2014 album Rock Or Bust, with his blessing.

Stevie, the son of Young’s oldest brother Stephen, previously filled in for Malcolm during the band’s Blow Up Your Video world tour in 1988 when he was struggling with alcohol issues. Some fans apparently did not notice the switch, due to Stevie’s striking resemblance to Malcolm and similar style of playing.

An official statement was posted on the band’s Facebook page confirming the news of Young’s death.

“Today it is with deep heartfelt sadness that AC/DC has to announce the passing of Malcolm Young,” it read.

“Malcolm, along with Angus, was the founder and creator of AC/DC. With enormous dedication and commitment he was the driving force behind the band.

“As a guitarist, songwriter and visionary he was a perfectionist and a unique man. He always stuck to his guns and did and said exactly what he wanted. He took great pride in all that he endeavoured. His loyalty to the fans was unsurpassed.

“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.”

A statement released by his family said: “It is with deepest sorrow that we inform you of the death of Malcolm Young, beloved husband, father, grandfather and brother. Malcolm had been suffering from dementia for several years and passed away peacefully on Saturday with his family by his bedside.

“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.”

On stage in Brisbane, Australia, in 2010 (Bradley Kanaris/Getty)
Malcolm Young (right) with AC/DC singer Brian Johnson and drummer Phil Rudd in Paris, 1984 (Rex)
AC/DC line up in the 1980s (Rex)

“While thanking all for their overwhelming support and heartfelt condolences, the family ask that you respect their privacy during this time of heartbreak and grief.”

Leading the tributes was his brother and bandmate Angus Young, who said in a statement: “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.”

A statement from American punk band Dropkick Murphys posted on Twitter said: “We are deeply saddened to have heard the news of the passing of Malcolm Young from AC/DC.

“Malcolm was the heart and soul of AC/DC and as fine an example as any to rhythm guitarists everywhere. Rock In Peace, Malcolm. Hope we see you up there. Love Dropkick Murphys.”

Scottish rock band Biffy Clyro wrote: “Rest in peace Malcolm Young x.”

Pulled Apart By Horses tweeted: “Gone, but he’ll never be forgotten. RIP Malcolm Young xx.”

Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale wrote: “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and fans... Great guy ...A pleasure to know...Truly missed, Malcolm...XX”

Young’s brother George, who produced some of AC/DC’s work, died in October aged 70.

He is survived by his wife Linda, children Cara and Ross, son-in-law Josh, three grandchildren, a sister and a brother.

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