AC/DC's founding member Malcolm Young has left the band due to a long illness, shortly before their fifteenth studio album Rock or Bust is released in November.
The 61-year-old musician made the decision to retire after 40 years and intends to keep details of his health condition private.
Young, who played rhythm guitar for the Australian rock group, will be replaced by his nephew Steve for AC/DC's upcoming 40th anniversary world tour. His brother, Angus, will take over as chief songwriter.
Record labels Alberts and Sony Music Australia confirmed the news in a statement: “Unfortunately due to the nature of Malcolm's illness, he will not be rejoining the band.”
In April, a message was posted on AC/DC's official website and Facebook page, explaining that Young would be “taking a break”.
“Malcolm would like to thank the group's diehard legions of fans worldwide for their never-ending love and support,” it read. “ AC/DC asks that Malcolm and his family's privacy be respected during this time. The band will continue to make music. ”
AC/DC formed in November 1973. Defining record Back in Black shifted over 45 million to sit just behind Michael Jackson's Thriller as the second highest-selling album of all time.
Their latest album, Black Ice, sold eight million copies worldwide upon its release in 2008.
Frontman Brian Johnson has said previously that he considered naming the new album Man Down in tribute to Young's departure but decided it was “a bit negative”.
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