While every other member of the band has shifted over the years (most notably the tragic alcohol-related death of original lead singer Bon Scott in 1980), Angus and Malcolm Young have been the steadfast members of AC/DC since its inception, holding strong through every tour and each album, from High Voltage (1975) to Black Ice (2008).

Unfortunately, recently, this unwavering presence began to be questioned when rumors began to arise about the health of 61-year-old rhythm guitarist, Malcolm. Label mate and longtime friend Mark Gable of The Choirboys initially confirmed the story on Wednesday morning.

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In an interview with ABC Radio, Gable said, “Malcolm is sick…and it’s even been confirmed in part by his son Ross (Young), that it would appear Malcolm is unable to perform anymore.” Gable was heartbreakingly specific as to the critical nature of Young’s condition.

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

In 1973, the world of rock’n’roll was changed forever. The two Scottish brothers started a band that has remained one of the best-selling musical groups of all-time: AC/DC. From their simple beginnings in Australia as a blues/hard-rock contingent to their current position as heavy metal pioneers, AC/DC has ruled the charts, managing to blossom from small Aussie oddity to one of the highest grossing bands in history.

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They are 10th on the Recording Industry of America (RIAA)’s list for best-selling artists, have sold more than 70 million albums, and have made the top 100 bands of all time according to VH1 and MTV. In fact, AC/DC’s popularity is so far-reaching as to have made in-roads in pop culture items such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

Journalists took immediately to the Internet, furiously scrawling about AC/DC “breaking up” and speculating about Malcolm’s condition, diagnosing a stroke and other unfounded diseases. But rumors drew to a halt (or, at the very least, were cleared up) when AC/DC released their own statement.

They wrote, “After forty years of life dedicated to AC/DC, guitarist and founding member Malcolm Young is taking a break from the band due to ill health. Malcolm would like to thank the group’s diehard legions of fans worldwide for their never-ending love and support. In light of this news, AC/DC asks that Malcolm and his family’s privacy be respected during this time. The band will continue to make music.”

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While it may be true that Malcolm Young is taking a break from the band, it seems that AC/DC may not be quite ready to quit. They have already booked studio time in Vancouver in May. While it is possible that the studio time was booked in advance, it is also possible that we may see more rock from this legendary group, even without Malcolm. As AC/DC once sang, “Can’t Stop Rock’n'Roll!”

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