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Update: AC/DC says it’s not breaking up, but Malcolm Young taking a break

AC/DC lead singer Brian Johnson performs on the Black Ice tour at Madison Square Garden in New York, Nov. 12, 2008.

Jeff Zelevansky/AP

While the rumours of AC/DC's breakup or retirement are premature, lead singer Brian Johnson says, the band has announced that co-founder Malcolm Young will be "taking a break" because of ill health.

"The band will continue to make music," it said in a statement, Spin magazine reports.

Johnson spoke out in an earlier interview on recent stories suggesting the hard-rocking group is about to split up. On the contrary, Johnson says the band is still planning on working on a potential album in Canada next month.

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"We are definitely getting together in May in Vancouver," he tells The 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."

In the interview, Johnson did confirm that one member of the group had health issues, but did not name rhythm guitarist Young, who co-founded AC/DC with younger brother and lead guitarist Angus way back in 1973.

"I wouldn't like to say anything either way about the future," the 66-year-old Johnson says. "I'm not ruling anything out. 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."

A good deal of the AC/DC breakup speculation stemmed from a recent interview with singer Mark Gable, frontman for the fellow Australian band Choirboys, who said the 61-year-old Young "is unable to play any more."

Beyond brushing off breakup rumours, Johnson remains coy on reports that AC/DC would mark their 40th year in the music business by doing 40 consecutive concerts in 40 different cities.

"That would be a wonderful way to say bye-bye," the singer says. "We would love to do it. But it's all up in the air at the moment."

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