AC/DC co-founder Malcolm Young has passed away at 64

AC/DC - Malcolm Young

It’s not like we haven’t already lost a bunch of supremely talented musicians in 2017, but, sadly, we have another to add to the list. Malcolm Young, who, along with his brother Angus formed powerhouse rock band AC/DC, passed away peacefully in his home at the age of 64 on Saturday. Malcolm, who battled dementia for many years, stopped performing live with the band in 2010, at the conclusion of the tour behind their Black Ice album.

Malcolm, who played rhythm guitar and Angus, AC/DC’s schoolboy outfit-clad lead guitarist, were responsible for crafting some of the band’s most memorable hits, including “TNT,” “Highway to Hell” and “Back in Black.”

In a statement on their Facebook page, the band 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. 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 endeavored. His loyalty to the fans was unsurpassed.

[Angus added] 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.

[From AC/DC’s Facebook page]

The rock ‘n’ roll community quickly reacted to the news. Both Foo Fighters and Guns ‘n’ Roses paid tribute to Malcolm during their gigs on Saturday night. Eddie Van Halen tweeted “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.” Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake lead singer David Coverdale and Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine also shared their condolences.

This sucks. I was obsessed with AC/DC in eight grade, where I wore out my album of Back in Black, and I’ve loved them ever since. I was saddened when Brian Johnson left the band last year due to hearing loss and back in 2015, drummer Phil Rudd got busted on threatening to kill and drug charges and then had a heart attack in August of last year. Thanks for the music Malcolm, you will be missed. Rest in peace.

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AC/DC headlines Donington 1991

Malcolm Young

Malcolm Young schreibt Autogramme vor seinem Berliner Hotel

Photos:, Getty Images

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20 Responses to “AC/DC co-founder Malcolm Young has passed away at 64”

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  1. Brunswickstoval says:

    A massive guitar talent. Very sad news. He was AC/DC for so many Australians.

    What is so heartbreaking for Angus is his brother George (founder of the Easybeats) died in October. His heart must be shattered.

    • Ankhel says:

      I know. That made me even sadder. I’ve been to see AC/DC every time they came to town, they were wonderful live. Poor Angus! This is the end of an era.

  2. Beth says:

    All of my favorites are going too quickly, too soon, and too young

  3. Frida_K says:

    This is sad news. He was still a relatively young guy. 64 isn’t that old, not anymore.

    I loved AC/DC when I was a teenager. I had a job for a while at an alternative record store and I managed to acquire a few bootleg albums while working there, including that one of Bon Scott’s last live concert. He (Bon Scott) was a bit before my time but I was too cool for any of his replacements. I was an AC/DC purist back in my wild youth.

    This is sad. I hope that Angus feels comforted knowing that fans world over, myself included, are remembering how much they loved AC/DC and are sending him and his family condolences.

    • Dj says:

      Another AC/DC purist here too! Bon Scott forever! So sad for the fans, band mates & family. What a shit year!

  4. AnnaKist says:

    Such sad, sad news. My late bother was good friends with the Young boys, even before they started AC/DC. He’d first met George at the migrant hostel where the family lived just after arriving in Australia, as it was a short walk from our house. George was setting up The Easybeats, made up of other migrant boys we knew who lived in our suburb. Later, my brother, a builder, did a lot of work for many Young family members. I always understood why he got along so well with them. They looked a bit rough and frightened a lot of the oldies, and though they liked a drink or 12, were all hard and committed workers, and when not performing, were quite reserved, just as my brother was. My brother was mates with them until his own sudden death from a heart attack at age 37. He liked that, despite their global fame, they were still respectful of their roots, family and fans – it never went to their heads. I’ve shed quite a few tears in the last couple of days. God, the memories…

    • Brunswickstoval says:

      What an amazing story. Thanks for sharing. Now I feel like crying too. They were an amazingly talented family.

    • Katebush says:

      Thanks for sharing your great story Annakist.. are you from Melbourne? My friends are and said that AC/DC played at their school ball when they were just starting out .. so cool!
      and sorry to hear about your brother too you must be thinking about him a lot today. Cool memories to have though!

  5. Who ARE these people? says:

    Did his brother precede him in dying from dementia? Given his relative young age did they have the gene for early onset? So awful for families. Not the same as the far more typical age related cases (also awful, bUT not directly inherited or striking in the prime of life, often after a carrive has unwittingly had children)..

    Fans sorry for your loss.

    • Brunswickstoval says:

      I don’t believe George’s family have disclosed the cause of death. They are very private.

  6. Eric says:

    I love the AC/DC era that spans from ’73 to about 1980 (Back in Black). Their early stuff is so raw and loud and the lyrics are so hellishly amusing.
    Have had Riff Raff, LTBR, Kicked in the Teeth, Rock N Roll Damnation, Touch Too Much on heavy rotation. Just wonderful rock songs.

  7. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Timeless rock. They were one of the sounds blaring from my Camero Z28 way back when. My first kiss may have been accompanied by REO Speedwagon but my second…… Awesome memories of a life’s soundtrack.

  8. Boodiba says:

    He had severe dementia by 57????

    • Ankhel says:

      It happens. Most larger nursing homes have a few senile residents who are in their fifties or early sixties. It’s usually Alzheimers, that disease can hit you quite early.

      • Rose of Sharon says:

        Mr. Young’s family didn’t specify what type of dementia he had, but typical for early-onset dementia, people around him noticed symptoms as far back as 2008, but it wasn’t until 2014 Mr. Young was diagnosed.

        My husband was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) 2 1/2 years ago at age 50, 10 months after walking out on me and our 4 children the day after buying an expensive condo in secret, draining our bank accounts, and tearing it up by getting hammered at bars every night and having one-night stands. FTD is the most common degenerative brain disease in younger people, tending to strike in the 40s to 60s, but is usually dismissed as “midlife crisis” or diagnosed as alcoholism or drug addiction unless the patient is seen by a neurologist, preferably at a university hospital. Dementia is not just memory loss in the old: It is also a drastic personality change and shocking, immoral behavior in the prime of life.

  9. H says:

    I cried when Bon died and I cried the other day when I heard Malcolm died. So much of my life was spent listening to AC/DC. I saw them on the Black Ice tour, one of the highlights of my life.

  10. Katebush says:

    One of my fave bands. I’ve seen them 4 times and they always out on an amazing show.
    I was a huge fan of Bon Scott but Brian Johnson did a great job replacing Bon. Back in Black would have been one of my favourite albums when I was about 15 back in the late 80s

    I feel for Angus knowing that he has lost both brothers in two months ..