Malcolm Young, the guitarist and co-founder of the iconic Australian hard rock band AC/DC, has died. He was 64. The news was confirmed on AC/DC's official website on Saturday morning. Young had been battling dementia.
"It is with deepest sorrow that we inform you of the death of Malcolm Young, beloved husband, father, grandfather and brother," the statement on AC/DC's official website read. "Malcolm had been suffering from dementia for several years and passed away peacefully with his family by his bedside."
"Renowned for his musical prowess Malcolm was a songwriter, guitarist, performer, producer and visionary who inspired many," the statement continued. "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 brother Angus led the tributes. "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 wrote. "He leaves behind an enormous legacy that will live on forever. Malcolm, job well done."
Malcolm and Angus made up AC/DC's creative core, crafting the songs—and, most importantly, the riffs—that would take the band to stadium tours and international stardom. Tracks like "Back in Black," "Highway to Hell," and "Hells Bells"—now instantly recognizable rock staples—showcased Malcolm's unfussy, direct style. As a rhythm guitarist, leaving the solos and pyrotechnics to Angus, Malcolm made sure to serve the song above all else.
But his craftsmanship was on display beneath the hits. On a remarkable run of records between AC/DC's debut, High Voltage, and 1980's Back in Black, the band pushed on with their brash, ballistic take on rock and roll. And somehow, despite the relentless energy and chemical imbalances and sheer volume of everything, they didn't seem to tire.
As news spread of Young's death this morning, tributes came in from every angle. "Rest in rock power AC/DC's #Malcolm Young," Prophets of Rage guitarist Tom Morello wrote on Twitter. "#1 greatest rhythm guitarist in the entire history of rock n roll. THANKYOU for everything."
Ryan Adams wrote, "RIP Malcolm Young. Legend. 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."
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