By Christopher Scapelliti
AC/DC rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young is taking an immediate leave of absence from the group due to illness.
The band released an official statement on its Facebook page earlier today:
"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."
According to various sources, Young, 61, suffered a stroke several weeks ago.
The band's Facebook post is its first comment on recent speculation that AC/DC were breaking up due to reports of Young's health. Radio station 6PR in Perth, Australia, recently reported that Young and his family are moving back to Australia while he recovers.
AC/DC are currently celebrating their 40th anniversary and have been planning reunion gigs as well as a new recording project. Frontman Brian Johnson said in February, “I think we’ll be going into the studio in May in Vancouver.”
According to an industry source, the band has not changed those plans.