AC/DC's Malcolm Young 'suffering dementia'

Last updated 15:47 16/04/2014
Malcom and Angus Young
GRAVE HEALTH FEARS: Malcom and Angus Young

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AC/DC’s Malcolm Young is seriously ill  and will not perform live again, a former label mate says.

Choirboys frontman Mark Gable says he believes the 61-year-old founding guitarist is unable to perform anymore and will probably never record again.

Rumours have been swirling since Tuesday that AC/DC are preparing to announce they will be hanging up their guitars and school uniforms for the last time.

"That is true, Malcolm is sick," Gable told ABC radio on Wednesday morning. "From what I understand, and it's even been confirmed in part by his son Ross (Young), that it would appear Malcolm is unable to perform anymore.

"It's not just that he is unwell, it's that it is quite serious. It will constitute that he definitely won't be able to perform live. He will probably not be able to record."

Although it is unclear what diagnosis the family has received on Young's condition, a source who knows the family has told Fairfax that Young's condition has deteriorated so badly his wife Linda and family were investigating full-time respite care for the once-powerhouse guitarist.

It is understood Young returned to Sydney with his family before Christmas and was having in-home care at his house in East Balmain. He is now said to be having difficulty remembering familiar faces and having increasing problems communicating.

"His memory loss is so bad it is consistent with Alzheimers or dementia although we do not know that is what it is. There has been talk about cancer too."

The family source told Fairfax the suggestion the band might split was "pure speculation", however other sources have said Angus Young and the late Bon Scott believed that "Malcolm was the band" and he might be the one person AC/DC could not continue without.

Claims of AC/DC's impending retirement were originally made in an email to Perth radio station 6PR by a person identifying himself as "Thunderstruck".

"My information is that Malcolm Young has moved himself and his family back to Australia, he's very very ill and that AC/DC may well be history," Thunderstruck told 6PR on Tuesday morning.

But Gable said Young's illness may not necessarily stop the band from continuing with plans for their 40th anniversary tour and to record their first album since 2008's Black Ice.

"There was speculation that they had this even tacit agreement that if no member currently was able to perform, DC would cease," Gable said.

"However Alex Young's son Stevie replaced Malcolm Young a few years back for a tour, and nobody knew the difference."

Gable and the Choirboys have been close to AC/DC for years.

In the early '80s they recorded their first self-titled album in the same studio the Australian hard rock band made their first five albums, after Angus and Malcolm Young's older brother and Easybeats founder George Young heard their demo in Sydney.

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AC/DC was formed by brothers Angus Young, now 59, and his brother Malcolm, who migrated from Scotland to Sydney when they were children, in 1973.

For more than three decades the band has consistently performed at sold-out concerts across the globe.

One of the group's best-loved works is their successful and influential Back In Black album, which has sold more than 22 million copies in the US.

AAP, with Peter Vincent

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