Brian Johnson details bowing out of AC/DC tour and his ‘darkest day’

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(CNN) — AC/DC lead singer Brian Johnson is speaking out about his hearing loss.

Fans knew that Guns N’ Roses front man Axl Rose would replace Johnson on AC/DC’s “Rock or Bust” world tour. But on Tuesday, Johnson, who has been with the band for 36 years, detailed what led to his decision and what he called the “darkest day” of his professional life.

“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 said in a statement. “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.”

Johnson, who joined AC/DC in 1980 after the death of original singer Bon Scott, said he was having trouble hearing the guitars and other musicians on stage.

“Our fans deserve my performance to be at the highest level, and if for any reason I can’t deliver that level of performance I will not disappoint our fans or embarrass the other members of AC/DC,” Johnson said. “I am not a quitter and I like to finish what I start, 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.”

Johnson said doctors have advised him that for now he cannot perform in loud stadiums or arenas. But he said he has no plans to leave the music industry permanently.

“My doctors have told me that I can continue to record in studios and I intend to do that,” Johnson said in his statement. “For the moment, my entire focus is to continue medical treatment to improve my hearing. I am hoping that in time my hearing will improve and allow me to return to live concert performances.”

AC/DC is expected to soon announce the rescheduling of 10 U.S. dates that will include Rose at the microphone.

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