AC/DC has completed work on a follow up to 2008's 'Black Ice' after a series of focused sessions in Vancouver, though frontman Brian Johnson admits the absence of Malcolm Young weighed heavy on the group.

"We're done -- I’m very excited and we’ve got some great songs," Johnson tells Classic Rock magazine. "We miss Malcolm, obviously. He’s a fighter. He’s in [the] hospital but he’s a fighter. We’ve got our fingers crossed that he’ll get strong again."

Young, who founded AC/DC with his brother Angus in 1973, went on hiatus from the band in April after reportedly suffering a stroke. Stevie Young, a family member who previously sat in with AC/DC in 1988, has again joined them in Malcolm Young's absence.

“Stevie, Malcolm’s nephew, was magnificent," Johnson adds, "but when you’re recording with this thing hanging over you and your work mate isn’t well, it’s difficult. But I’m sure [Malcolm] was rooting for us. He’s such a strong man. He’s a small guy but he’s very strong. He’s proud and he’s very private, so we can’t say too much. But fingers crossed he’ll be back."

That sense of loss is reflected in Johnson's title suggestion for this forthcoming project: “I wanted to call the album 'Man Down,'" he says. "But it’s a bit negative and it was probably just straight from the heart. I like that.”

AC/DC is also preparing for a world tour, with rumored dates to include UK's Wembley Stadium next summer. Johnson was speaking during a return visit to his hometown, where he received an honorary doctorate in music from Newcastle's Northumbria University.

Watch AC/DC Perform With Stevie Young in 1988