SYDNEY, April 16 (UPI) -- AC/DC founding member Malcom Young announced his retirement on Wednesday amid rumors that the band is breaking up.
The band writes in an announcement on their Facebook that "after forty years of life dedicated to AC/DC," Young will be "taking a break from the band due to ill health."
"Malcom would like to thank the group's diehard legions of fans worldwide for their never-ending love and support," the statement continues. "In light of this news, AC/DC asks that Malcom and his family's privacy be respected during this time. The band will continue to make music."
Rumors of a breakup began to swirl Monday night after Australian radio station 6PR tweeted that Young had moved back to Australia due to illness. AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson denied a breakup on Wednesday just hours before the band's announcement on Facebook, and said that the group still plans to reunite and write a new album.
"We are definitely getting together in May in Vancouver," Johnson told The Daily Telegraph. "We're going to pick up some guitars, have a plonk, and see if anybody has got any tunes or ideas. If anything happens, we'll record it."
Johnson acknowledged that "one member" of the band is sick, but said he "wouldn't like to say anything either way about the future."
"I'm not ruling anything out," the musician conceded. "One of the boys has a debilitating illness, but I don't want to say too much about it. He is very proud and private, a wonderful chap. We've been pals for 35 years and I look up to him very much."
Johnson said the band "would love" to do a 40th anniversary tour, but "it's all up in the air at the moment."
[AC/DC Facebook] [The Daily Telegraph]