Rock and roll have witnessed numerous legendary musicians, but few have left as indelible a mark as the sibling duo of Angus and Malcolm Young from AC/DC. Their music became an anthem for generations of fans, but behind their success lies a poignant tale of brotherhood and loss. Malcolm’s battle with dementia and subsequent passing in 2017 deeply affected Angus, as he opened up about the emotional toll of witnessing his brother’s decline. In a heartfelt confession, Angus shared the hardest part of Malcolm’s death and how his brother’s unwavering spirit remained a source of joy throughout the difficult journey.
The Hardest Part: Witnessing Malcolm’s Decline
In a candid interview with 60 Minutes Australia, Angus Young reflected on the emotional journey of his brother Malcolm’s illness and passing. Malcolm had been battling dementia for years, which eventually led to his departure from AC/DC in order to prioritize his health. Angus expressed that the hardest part was witnessing his brother’s decline, as the once vibrant and energetic musician slowly slipped away. Despite the difficult process, Angus found solace in the rare moments of joy when Malcolm would recognize him and react positively, even in the later stages of his illness.
“I think the hardest part was not so much in parting because that was a kind of end, you know – the relief. The decline, that’s the hard part, because you knew him, and then to see that was gone.”
A Brother’s Unwavering Support
Throughout Malcolm’s illness, Angus Young remained a pillar of support and comfort for his brother. Despite the challenges, Angus found happiness in those moments when Malcolm would react to his music, tapping his foot and displaying a big smile. Despite the ravages of dementia, Malcolm always knew that Angus was there for him. Even in his state of decline, the bond between the brothers remained strong, providing Angus with the strength to stay by Malcolm’s side until the end.
“Even to the end… if I was there, from here to here, he had a big smile. And I think that was probably… for me, that always gave me a kind of joy, even though he was in that state. That was always the joy of it. [He] always got a great kick if I played him guitar. He would try to tap his foot. But he always knew I was there. I was with him toward the end.”
Angus’ Decision to Carry On
Despite his health struggles, Malcolm Young’s dedication to AC/DC and their music remained unwavering. This commitment inspired Angus to carry on the legacy they had built together. In an interview with Guitar World, Angus discussed the impact of his brother’s condition on their family, acknowledging that the illness altered Malcolm’s true self. However, Malcolm’s spirit and encouragement continued to resonate with Angus, influencing his decision to continue playing music with AC/DC after Malcolm’s passing. In this way, Malcolm’s presence continues to live on through the band’s music and performances.
“With the condition itself, you know it’s not him. I know his wife kind of feels that way. It’s like she’s lost her husband.”
Malcolm’s battle with dementia and eventual passing left a lasting impact on Angus Young, as he candidly shared the emotional toll of witnessing his brother’s decline.