AC/DC’s Malcolm Young has officially stepped off the Rock ‘n’ Roll Train.
The band has confirmed that the 61-year-old musician and founding member will not return due to health issues that have plagued the guitarist for some time now.
“Earlier this year AC/DC released a statement explaining that due to illness, Malcolm would be taking a break from the band,” the Australian group said in a statement on its website. “Unfortunately, due to the nature of Malcolm’s condition, he will not be returning to the band.”
For the first time in the band’s 41-history, he will not appear on its next album, “Rock or Bust,” set to release on Dec. 2, another announcement the rockers made alongside news of Young’s departure.
Initial reports in April stated the band would be breaking up for good.
“The suggestion is being put to me that a tour will never happen and we will never see AC/DC perform again or record again,” entertainment reporter Peter Ford said at the time.
Later, Billboard magazine dismissed the rumors surrounding the band’s demise. In fact, front man Brian Johnson indicated in another interview for a Florida radio station that the group was to begin recording its first album in six years in May.
Johnson’s report now appears to be true as the group is set to release its latest project, an 11-track LP on Columbia Records that was recorded at Warehouse Studio in Vancouver in the spring.
Young’s legacy with the band continues through his nephew, Stevie Young, who plays rhythm guitar on the new album and is set to tour with the band.
Fans can get a taste of what’s to expect on AC/DC’s big return with “Play Ball,” a preview track available Sept. 27 as part of Turner Sports’ Major League Baseball postseason.
The album was originally going to be named “Man Down,” paying homage to Young as the fallen solider.
“But it’s a bit negative,” front man Brian Johnson explained about his initial ideas for the album title, according to NME.com. “And it was probably just straight from the heart. I like that.”