After a three-year battle with dementia, 64-year-old Malcolm Young, co-founder and rhythm guitarist of the 2003-inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band AC/DC, passed away on Saturday at his home, with his family at his bedside.
His death has been officially confirmed on the AC/DC website.
“It is with deep heartfelt sadness that AC/DC has to announce the passing of Malcolm Young,” the statement said. “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.”
“Renowned for his musical prowess Malcolm was a songwriter, guitarist, performer, producer, and visionary who inspired many,” said another AC/DC statement. “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.”
“His loyalty to the fans was unsurpassed,” his younger brother and lead guitarist of the band Angus Young said in a separate 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.”
Band members, fellow musicians, friends and rock and roll fans offered their condolences and tributes to the “driving force” behind the band.
Country music band Zac Brown Band called him the “heart, soul, & velvet hammer of AC/DC” and said they would “definitely miss him.
It’s sad to hear of Malcolm Young’s passing. He was the heart, soul, & velvet hammer of AC/DC. We’ll definitely miss him. pic.twitter.com/L7hWurwqH2
— Zac Brown Band (@zacbrownband) November 18, 2017
Guitarist Eddie Van Halen said “it is a sad day in rock and roll” calling him a “friend and the heart and soul of AC/DC.”
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
Singer Ryan Adams said he was “the engine that roared behind the most powerful band in the world.”
RIP Malcolm Young
He was the founding member of AC/DC & the engine that roared behind the most powerful band in the world.
He wrote Back In Black, Highway to Hell, You Shook Me All Night Long, Highway to Hell, so many songs…
Travel safely to the stars, Malcolm.
— Ryan Adams (@TheRyanAdams) November 18, 2017
Guitarist Joe Satriani tweeted “RIP Malcolm Young.”
R.I.P. Malcolm Young
— Joe Satriani (@chickenfootjoe) November 18, 2017
“He was older than me – I always looked up to him. In the studio, I would fiddle about with guitar sounds – and fiddle my way right out of the ball field [laughs]. Malcolm would dial me in, a big, fat sound, and I’d go, “Oh, wow!”” Angus Young had fondly said about his brother in an interview with ROLLING STONES last year.
He had gone on to say that, “Malcolm was always one to battle through. He would look at me in times of crisis and go, “We’ll just go in and do some work. We’ll sit and write some songs.” He had that drive, and I feel obligated to keep it going, maybe because I was there in the beginning with him.”
Born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1953, Malcolm Young moved to Sydney, Australia, at the age of 10, with his parents and three of his eight siblings, including younger brother Angus and older brother George.
Malcolm founded AC/DC in 1973 and soon inducted younger brother Angus into the band. In 1974, AC/DC toured Australia along with singer Dave Evans, who was with the band briefly from 1973-1974.
In 1976, AC/DC relocated to the UK and Malcolm’s older brother George, who passed away last month aged 70, left his band EASYBEATS to produce for AC/DC along with Harry Vanda, also an ex- EASYBEATS band member. They were responsible for the first six AC/DC albums.
When Malcolm fell ill in 2014, his place was filled in by his nephew Stevie Young – son of older brother Stephan – who was with the band during the 2015 ROCK OR BUST WORLD TOUR.
Malcolm had been suffering from concentration issues and memory lapses even before and during the BLACK ICE WORLD TOUR, constantly requiring treatment on the tour which ended in 2010.
Soon after, he was diagnosed with early-stage lung cancer and was operated upon successfully. He also had issues with his heart for which he had to wear a pacemaker.
According to the AC/DC website statement, “Malcolm is survived by his loving wife O’Linda, children Cara and Ross, son-in-law Josh, three grandchildren, sister and brother.”
This is how his fans reacted to the news of his sad demise.
— AMERICAN_METAL_HEAD (@woodydelles) November 18, 2017
‘Rest In Peace Malcolm Young 1953-2017
You Were The Driving Pulse Of One Of The Greatest Bands Of All Time. Rock And Roll Owes You A Debt And You Will Be Missed!.’ #malcolm #highvoltage pic.twitter.com/4s3QmAKsUb
— Tre Cool (@TreCoolReal) November 19, 2017
Rock In Peace Malcolm Mitchell Young. Born 6 January 1953
Died 18 November 2017. ✌️🎸🎸👖🇦🇺 🏴 #acdc #Malcolm #malcolmyoung #guitar #rhythm #rhythmguitar #history #rock #rockandroll #rocknroll #australia #scotland #Glasgow pic.twitter.com/AjtDh3KLyC
— Neal Quillinan (@nealquillinan) November 19, 2017
Rest in Peace Malcolm Young!