Adam “MCA” Yauch of the Beastie Boys Passes Away
Nearly three years after being diagnosed with a tumor in his salivary gland in 2009, Adam Yauch, better known as his stage name, MCA, died on May 4. MCA, who is one third of the legendary and iconic hip-hop group the Beastie Boys, was only 47 years old.
“It is with great sadness that we confirm that musician, rapper, activist and director Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch, founding member of Beastie Boys and also of the Milarepa Foundation that produced the Tibetan Freedom Concert benefits, and film production and distribution company Oscilloscope Laboratories, passed away in his native New York City this morning after a near-three-year battle with cancer,” reads an official statement from the Beastie Boys. “He was 47 years old.”
Yauch formed the group back in 1979 with other members Mike “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz. The group helped transform the way mainstream culture thought about hip-hop music during the 1980s when they broke out with Licensed to Ill in 1986, which became the first rap album to reach number one on the Billboard chart and the biggest selling rap album of the decade. Along with acts like Run DMC, the Beastie Boys are credited with ushering rap to the forefront of the music industry and popularizing the genre in America.
The group was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April, though Yauch was forced to sit out the honor. Their latest album, Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2, was released in April of 2011.
In addition to his music work, Yauch was well known for his work in film, and for founding the film production company Oscilloscope Laboratories. He even directed many of the Beastie Boys’ music videos under the pseudonym Nathaniel Hornblower. One of his biggest passions outside of work was the movement to free Tibet, and Yauch founded the Milarepa Fund to help the cause.