A friend of AC/DC's Malcolm Young says the guitarist will not be able to perform with the band again due to an unspecified serious illness. Speaking to ABC Radio (as quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald), CHOIRBOYS singer Mark Gable, who has been friends with AC/DC "for years," said: "That is true, Malcolm is sick… From what I understand, and it's even been confirmed in part by his son Ross [Young]… 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."
However, Gable said that Young's illness may not necessarily stop the band from continuing with plans to celebrate its 40th anniversary by playing 40 shows around the world.
"There was speculation that they had this even tacit agreement that if no member currently was able to perform, AC/DC would cease," he said. "However Alex Young's son Stevie replaced Malcolm Young a few years back for a tour, and nobody knew the difference."
According to The Age, a source who knows the Young family has told Fairfax that Malcolm's condition has deteriorated so badly his wife Linda and family were investigating full-time respite care for the guitarist.
It is believed 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 Alzheimer's or dementia although we do not know that is what it is," the source said. "There has been talk about cancer too."
Australian music journalist Darryl Mason reported earlier in the week that Young suffered a stroke three weeks ago that has left a blood clot on his brain. The event reportedly happened just prior to the band reuniting at the start of April to begin rehearsals ahead of new album recording sessions planned for next month in Vancouver.
The new reports come just a day after rumors began circulating that AC/DC would be retiring.
The source of the original retirement rumor was an e-mail sent to Perth radio station 6PR from an anonymous tipster using the handle Thunderstruck. The station subsequently spread the word, setting off a flurry of reports first throughout Australia and then worldwide.
It should be noted, however, that the group's management and Columbia Records, its current label, have chosen not to comment on the matter, according to Billboard.com. In addition, Billboard.com quotes AC/DC "insiders" as insisting that there is no truth to these stories.