Update: Adam Yauch’s representatives have confirmed that Yauch died Friday in New York, according to the Associated Press.
When Adam Yauch was unable to attend the Beastie Boys recent induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it seemed clear his condition was serious. Today, after a lengthy battle with cancer, Yauch, known as MCA, has passed away at the age of 47, according to a post on hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons’s Global Grind website.
As one third of the pioneering New York hip-hop trio, with bandmates Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock) and Mike Diamond (Mike D), Yauch experienced unbelievable commercial and critical success with a string of albums, from the brash “License to Ill” in 1986 to the group’s most recent release “Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2” in 2011.
In addition to his musical contributions to the Beastie Boys, Yauch also became famous for directing many of the group’s outlandish videos under the pseudonym Nathanial Hornblower. He was also well-known for his efforts in the Free Tibet movement, staging several benefit concerts and co-founding the Milarepa Fund.
Yauch was diagnosed with cancer in 2009.
Although he didn’t make it to the Rock Hall induction ceremony last month, Horovitz and Diamond represented for their brother in Cleveland.
Diamond thanked Yauch’s parents for allowing the boys to “make a damn godawful racket” while listening to records by the Clash, Grandmaster Flash, the Treacherous 3, and Run-DMC every day after school at Yauch’s house. And Horovitz read from a speech that Yauch wrote that read in part: “I’d like to dedicate this award to my brothers Adam and Mike who have walked the globe with me. To anyone who has been touched by our band, who our music has meant something to, this induction is as much ours as it yours.”
That group encompasses a wide swath of people who appreciated the B-Boys giddy sense of humor, experimental attitude, and pure love of all music from hip-hop to punk to metal to reggae. Yauch was an integral part of that and will be much missed.