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Malcolm Young Dead at 64

Malcolm Young, the rhythm guitarist who co-founded AC/DC with his lead-guitarist brother, Angus, died Saturday, the band said.

”Today it is with deep heartfelt sadness that AC/DC has to announce the passing of Malcolm Young,” it said, calling the guitarist “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.”

Malcolm Young was 64. He had been battling dementia and last played with AC/DC in 2010. His and Angus’ nephew, Stevie, had taken his place.

”I have to go. I am losing it that Malcolm is gone,” Dave Mustaine tweeted. “I hate this.”

AC/DC formed in 1973 and was rocked by the death of lead singer Bon Scott after releasing 1979’s Highway to Hell. Undeterred, the band recruited Brian Johnson and had its biggest success with 1980’s Back in Black. It went on to become one of hard-rock’s most successful bands.

”Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and fans,” David Coverdale tweeted. “Great guy. A pleasure to know. Truly missed. Malcolm.“

Although AC/DC has not officially broken up, its future looks precarious. Hearing problems forced Johnson to leave the band mid-tour in 2016 to be replaced by Axl Rose. Original drummer Phil Rudd had been fired in 2015 after running into legal problems and bassist Cliff Williams announced his retirement after the band concluded its tour with Rose at the helm.

AC/DC’s last album, Rock or Bust, came out in 2014; Malcolm Young last appeared on 2008’s Black Ice.

”He was the heart, soul and velvet hammer of AC/DC,” the Zac Brown Band said of the guitarist. “We’ll definitely miss him.”

”Such sad news, RIP Malcolm Young,” Overkill said on Facebook. “AC/DC, we salute you.”

Malcolm’s death follows the October passing of 70-year-old George Young, the eldest brother who produced the band and supported AC/DC in its early days.

Angus Young said his bond with Malcolm was “unique and very special.

”He leaves behind an enormous legacy that will live on forever,” the surviving Young brother said. “Malcolm, job well done.”