AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson has released a statement explaining his decision to bow out of the remaining dates on the band’s Rock or Bust world tour. Johnson was advised by doctors to stop touring or face permanent hearing loss, after fronting the hard rock band for over 35 years.

Brian JohnsonBrian Johnson has spoken out after being forced to step down as AC/DC singer for live shows.

Johnson’s statement comes days after AC/DC announced that Guns ’n’ Roses singer Axl Rose would be fronting the band for the remaining dates of the tour. “On March 7th, after a series of examinations by leading physicians in the field of hearing loss, I was advised that if I continue to perform at large venues, I risked total deafness,” Johnson told fans.

“While I was horrified at the reality of the news that day, I had for a time become aware that my partial hearing loss was beginning to interfere with my performance on stage. I was having difficulty hearing the guitars on stage and because I was not able to hear the other musicians clearly, I feared the quality of my performance could be compromised.”

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The singer then explained that after consulting doctors it was made clear to him and his bandmates that he had no choice but to quit live performing, describing the day he heard the news as the darkest in his professional life.

“I am personally crushed by this development more than anyone could ever imagine.  The emotional experience I feel now is worse than anything I have ever in my life felt before,” he continued. “Being part of AC/DC, making records and performing for the millions of devoted fans this past 36 years has been my life's work.”

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“I cannot imagine going forward without being part of that, but for now I have no choice.  The one thing for certain is that I will always be with AC/DC at every show in spirit, if not in person.” Johnson then apologised to fans who had bought tickets for the canceled shows and thanked bandmates Angus Young and Cliff Williams for their support. 

Johnson concluded by assuring fans he is not retiring and will continue to record music in studios. He is also continuing medical treatment in the hope of improving his hearing. “I am hoping that in time my hearing will improve and allow me to return to live concert performances,” he added. “While the outcome is uncertain, my attitude is optimistic. Only time will tell."