Adam Yauch, one-third of the pioneering hip-hop group the Beastie Boys, has died at the age of 47. Also known as MCA, he had been diagnosed with a cancerous parotid gland and a lymph node in 2009 and then underwent surgery and radiation therapy. Following a near-three-year battle with cancer, Yauch eventually fell yesterday, May 4, 2012.
He was unable to attend the Beastie Boys induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April and treatments also forced delay in the group to release their last album Hot Sauce Committee, Pt.2.
Emerging from the New York scene in the late 1970’s, the Beastie Boys were the first white group to successfully sing rap songs and remained popular for more than a quarter century. Founded by Yauch, Mike Diamond (Mike D), and Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock) as a punk band in 1981, they began experimented with hip-hop the following year when they released a 12-inch vinyl rap spoof Cooky Puss. The Beastie Boys broke it big with their first proper album Licensed to Ill in 1986; it was biggest-selling rap album of the decade and the first to reach #1 on the Billboard chart. They continued their success and were a legitimate superstar act.
Yauch was also heavily involved with the Tibetan independence movement and organized the Tibetan Freedom Concert. As a Buddhist, he was an important voice for the Tibetan freedom movement. He created the Milarepa Fund, a non-profit organization devoted to Tibetan independence, and organized several other benefit concerts to support the cause.
In addition to his career with the Beastie Boys, Yauch also founded Oscilloscope Laboratories, an independent film production and distribution company based out of New York.
A rapper, songwriter, and film director, May 4, 2012 marks the day that the world lost a talented, influential, and positive artist who stood for integrity and more.