“Today it is with deep heartfelt sadness that AC/DC has to announce the passing of Malcolm Young,” AC/DC wrote in a statement shared on social media. “Malcolm, along with Angus, was the founder and creator of AC/DC. With enormous dedication and commitment he was 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.”
Young died peacefully Saturday with his family by his side, according to a statement from the Australian Associated Press.
Fellow rocker Eddie Van Halen expressed his sadness over the news of Young’s passing on Twitter, writing: “It is a sad day in rock and roll. Malcolm Young was my friend and the heart and soul of AC/DC. I had some of the best times of my life with him on our 1984 European tour. He will be missed and my deepest condolences to his family, bandmates and friends.”
“I’m sad to hear of the passing of Malcolm Young. It was great to get the opportunity to open for AC/DC on the Highway to Hell tour & we certainly learned a thing or two. He was an incredible guitar player & the glue for the band onstage & off. RIP Malcolm, say hi to Bon,” added Joe Elliott from Def Leppard, referencing AC/DC band member Bon Scott, who died in 1980.
It is a sad day in rock and roll. Malcolm Young was my friend and the heart and soul of AC/DC. I had some of the best times of my life with him on our 1984 European tour. He will be missed and my deepest condolences to his family, bandmates and friends.
— Eddie Van Halen (@eddievanhalen) November 18, 2017
“I’m sad to hear of the passing of Malcolm Young. It was great to get the opportunity to open for AC/DC on the Highway To Hell tour & we certainly learned a thing or two. He was an incredible guitar player & the glue for that band onstage & off. RIP Malcolm, say hi to Bon.” – Joe
— Def Leppard (@DefLeppard) November 18, 2017
— Slash (@Slash) November 18, 2017
RIP Malcolm Young, one of the greatest rhythm guitarist who’s recordings will continue to rock our world. Too young. https://t.co/JB0CcO5jCT
— Lisa Loeb (@LisaLoeb) November 18, 2017
— Ozzy Osbourne (@OzzyOsbourne) November 18, 2017
RIP Malcolm Young. You will always be a guitar playing, songwriting giant.
What an amazing bond between 2 brothers, my heart and eternal respect go out to his brother Angus at this time.
— Dave Hause (@hausedave) November 18, 2017
— Jamie Mathias (@BFMVJAMIE) November 18, 2017
RIP Malcolm Young
He was the founding member of AC/DC & the engine that roared behind the most powerful band in the world.
He wrote Back In Black, Highway to Hell, You Shook Me All Night Long, Highway to Hell, so many songs…
Travel safely to the stars, Malcolm.
— Ryan Adams (@TheRyanAdams) November 18, 2017
In 2014, it was announced that Malcolm had been diagnosed with dementia and was taking a break from the band.
RELATED VIDEO: AC/DC Co-Founder and Guitarist Malcolm Young Dead at 64
In 1973, Angus and Malcolm co-founded the Australian band together — vocalist Bon Scott later joined the following year — and in 1984, Malcolm told PEOPLE that the story behind their band name was simple: “You could simply remember it; that’s why we chose it. We were still young and naive.”
Remembering one of the band’s early gigs in Melbourne, Malcolm revealed that, “Upfront, bisexual women would come in and hold up vibrators…They had T-shirts on with holes cut out in front, and their boobs were poking through. It was great.”
AC/DC has released dozens of massive hits throughout the band’s lengthy career including “Highway to Hell,” “You Shook Me All Night Long,” and “Back in Black.”