Bon Scott and his bandmates were working on a new album with material that was eventually put aside when production of the Back in Black album commenced, but Scott would not be a part of its success. On 19 February 1980, Scott, 33, passed out after a night of heavy drinking in a London club called the Music Machine (currently known as the KOKO). He was left to sleep in a Renault 5 owned by an acquaintance named Alistair Kinnear, at 67 Overhill Road in East Dulwich, South London. The following afternoon, Kinnear found Scott lifeless, and alerted the authorities. Scott was rushed to King's College Hospital in Camberwell, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Pulmonary aspiration of vomit was the cause of Scott's death, and the official cause was listed as "acute alcohol poisoning" and "death by misadventure". Scott was cremated and his ashes were interred by his family at Fremantle Cemetery in Fremantle, Western Australia.
Inconsistencies in media accounts of Scott's death (incorrect spelling of Alistair Kinnear's first name, among others) have been cited in conspiracy theories, which suggest that Scott died of alcohol poisoning, or was killed by exhaust fumes redirected into the car, or that Kinnear did not exist. Additionally, Scott was asthmatic, and the temperature was below freezing on the morning of his death.
Shortly after Scott's death, the remaining members of AC/DC briefly considered quitting, however, it was eventually decided that Scott would have wanted them to continue and after the encouragement of Bon's family that they continue, the band hired Brian Johnson as the new vocalist.
Five months after Scott's death, AC/DC finished the work they began with Scott and released Back in Black as a tribute to him with two tracks from the album, "Hells Bells" and "Back in Black", dedicated to his memory. It is now the second best-selling album in history, behind Michael Jackson's Thriller. The French rock band Trust wrote their hit song "Ton dernier acte" ("Your last act") in memory of Scott in 1980. German hard rock band Kingdom Come wrote and recorded a song titled "Bon Scott" for their album, Ain't Crying for the Moon, as a tribute to the former AC/DC frontman. It is a medium- to fast-paced song, that has a driving guitar riff during the verses that is very much in the style of AC/DC.
His grave site has become a cultural landmark; more than 28 years after Scott's death, the National Trust of Australia decreed his grave important enough to be included on the list of classified heritage places. It is reportedly the most visited grave in Australia. On 7 July 2006, to mark his 60th birthday, the Metropolitan Cemeteries Board completed refurbishments on the Bon Scott Grave Area. This consisted of a Bon Scott Arch and Memorial Entrance gate off Carrington Street in the north-west corner of Fremantle Cemetery. On 9 July 2006, 60 years to the day from Scott's birth, the bronze plaque was stolen from the site.