AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson has described how his heart broke after undergoing a medical procedure at the same hospital where band co-founder and rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young was being treated for early-onset dementia.
The two were not allowed to visit.
Johnson recalls awakening from surgery at the Sydney hospital in 2015 and being overjoyed when a nurse practitioner informed him that he also worked with his former bandmate Malcolm, who was a resident of the care facility in the building next door.
Malcolm retired from music in 2014 due to issues with memory loss. He was soon checked into a care facility, where he passed away in 2017.
Johnson quickly asked the nurse if he could see his old bandmate.
He recalls the heartbreaking exchange in an excerpt from his The Lives of Brian memoir, due out tomorrow, October 25.
“The smiley-faced man stopped smiling and dropped his eyes. ‘Sorry, mate, i can’t do that. It’s the family’s wishes.’ I told him I understood. In the next building was the man who I’d shared a stage with for 35 years, the man who’d hired me as the lead singer of AC/DC — the man who’d cared about me so much, he once visited my hometown to meet my parents. He’d even taken my dad for a pint at his club — I mean, who does that?”
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer couldn’t help but cry – he’d would probably never see Malcolm again.
He later learned that Malcolm’s wife, O’Linda, had implemented the no-visitors rule, concerned that Malcolm might be embarrassed about his condition.
“She was just looking out for her husband, like she always did,” Johnson added.
“Angus [Young] visited him, as did his grandchildren, who I’m told made him very happy. But it broke my heart all the same.”