Brian Johnson, the former lead singer for AC/DC, released a statement about his hearing condition, which forced him to step down from the band’s latest tour, Rock or Bust. The doctors he consulted told him that he could suffer total deafness were he to continue performing in large venues. He described not being able to hear the guitars and other musicians on stage and “feared the quality of my performance could be compromised.” He went on to say, “I am not a quitter…nevertheless, the doctors made it clear to me and my bandmates that I had no choice but to stop performing on stage for the remaining shows and possibly beyond. That was the darkest day of my life.”

Guns N’ Roses legend Axl Rose will take Johnson’s place. Also replacing him in AC/DC is Stevie Young, Johnson’s nephew, providing rhythm guitar and back up vocals. There is a lot of speculation about inner conflict between Johnson and Angus Young, who some people claim fired Johnson. The statement released by the band says otherwise, of course, but perhaps those in the inner circles know better.

“AC/DC band members would like to thank Brian Johnson for his contributions and dedication to the band throughout the years. We wish him all the best with his hearing issues and future ventures. As much as we want this tour to end as it started, we understand, respect and support Brian’s decision to stop touring and save his hearing.”

Atlanta Radio 100.5 DJ Jason Bailey, originally stirred the pot on his show when he said that a source close to him informed him that Rose would be the guest vocalist on AC/DC’s tour.

While Bailey is creating headlines, Johnson is grateful for his support from the fans and his fellow band members. “Most importantly, I feel terrible having to disappoint the fans who bought tickets for the canceled shows and who have steadfastly supported me and AC/DC these many years. My thanks also go to Angus and Cliff for their support,” he said. “My doctors have told me that I can continue to record in studios and I intend to do that.  For the moment, my entire focus is to continue medical treatment to improve my hearing. While the outcome is uncertain, my attitude is optimistic.”

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