AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young is "unable to perform any more" due to illness, according to a friend of the musician.
Mark Gable, the frontman with fellow Australian group Choirboys, claimed that Young "will probably not be able to record" any more.
AC/DC have been fronted by Gateshead-born singer Brian Johnson since 1980.
The band has sold more than 200 million albums worldwide.
There had been rumours that AC/DC might perform at Newcastle's St James' Park this year as part of a tour to mark the band's 40th anniversary.
It is unclear whether the tour will now go ahead.
However, music magazine Billboard has said there is "no truth" to rumours that AC/DC will be forced to retire.