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AC/DC bassist Cliff Williams steps down

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 21/09/2016 Danielle McGrane

After nearly four decades AC/DC bassist Cliff Williams is leaving the band.

His retirement comes at a tricky time for the band, and leaves guitarist Angus Young as the last original member standing.

Williams says his decision isn't related to anything else that's going on with the band.

"It's time for me to step out, that's all," Williams said in a video posted to AC/DC's official YouTube channel.

Before they released their last album Rock or Bust and went on tour, AC/DC announced founding member, guitarist Malcolm Young, was suffering from dementia and wouldn't be playing with the group any more.

Following Young's diagnosis, the band also had to contend with drummer Phil Rudd's arrest in New Zealand.

Rudd was sentenced to eight months' home detention after he pleaded guilty to charges of threatening to kill, and possession of methamphetamine and cannabis.

The biggest shock was yet to come when lead singer Brian Johnson was forced to quit in the middle of the tour earlier this year over fears he would lose his hearing.

However, Williams said none of that affected his decision.

"Not because we've lost Mal, Phil or Brian, everything changes when something happens like that. When Bon (Scott, AC/DC's first singer) died it changed then, everything changes, so it's not that," he said.

"It's just I'm just ready to get off the road really and do what I do in between tours. We take a few years off, so I know how to do that, I know what I'm going to do and, again, it's just my time. I'm happy I just need ... family time now, just chill out and not do this."

The band have continued touring, replacing every member including Johnson with Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose to finish off the rest of the Rock or Bust tour.

But Williams' departure places a large question mark over the band's future.

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