AC/DC singer Brian Johnson was in Chattanooga, Tennessee Friday night (November 21) for an event at the Embassy Suites for the Alzheimer's Federation Of Chattanooga. The disease hits close to home for Johnson, whose bandmate, AC/DC's 61-year-old guitarist Malcom Young, was diagnosed with dementia, a brain disorder that interferes with a person's ability to carry out everyday tasks.
"He was the man that started the band, he was the one that was behind AC/DC. He was our spiritual leader. He was our spitfire," Johnson told NewsChannel.com.
Dementia can be reversed when it's caused by dehydration or other treatable conditions. But most forms of dementia worsen gradually over time and can't be corrected.
According to WebMD, the average survival time for people diagnosed with dementia is about four and a half years. However, those diagnosed before age 70 typically live for a decade or longer.
"You just expect that they are going to get better," Johnson said. "You think there's going to be a pill that's going to fix them. I don't know, you think there's going to be a miracle and of course, one day you wake up and realize there isn't and it hurts."
A video report on Johnson's visit to Chattanooga can be found below (courtesy of WRCBTV.com).
The Sydney Morning Herald reported in September that Malcolm was being treated in a nursing home in Sydney, Australia. The facility is believed to be Lulworth House in Elizabeth Bay. A Young family connection told the newspaper, "If you were in the room with [Malcolm] and walked out, then came back in one minute later, he wouldn't remember who you are. He has a complete loss of short-term memory. His wife, Linda, has put him in full-time care."
Malcolm did not participate in the recording sessions for AC/DC's new studio album, "Rock Or Bust", which is set to arrive on December 2.
His replacement on the album and the band's upcoming world tour will be Stevie Young, nephew of Malcolm and AC/DC guitarist Angus Young.
The band officially announced in September that Malcolm would not be returning to the lineup.
Stevie Young played with AC/DC once before during a 1988 tour, while Malcolm stepped out to deal with his dependency on alcohol.