Adam Yauch, better known as MCA of the Beastie Boys, passed away today at the age of 47. The exact cause of death is unclear at the moment, but the rapper had been battling cancer since 2009.
A Brooklyn, NY native, Yauch taught himself how to play bass in high school before forming Beastie Boys in 1979. The band started as a hardcore punk group until they began experimenting with hip hop. Their 1986 debut, Licensed to Ill, cemented them as a critical and commercial success and became the first hip hop album to top the Billboard 200.
With bandmates Michael “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Adrock” Horovitz, Beastie Boys went on to sell tens of millions of albums worldwide. Among the group’s many accolades are four #1 albums, three Grammy awards and the MTV Video Vanguard Lifetime Achievement award. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year.
In addition to his legacy with the Beastie Boys, Yauch also was an activist. He founded the Milarepa Foundation, which produced the Tibetan Freedom Concert benefits, among other charitable work. He was also a filmmaker behind the production/distribution company Oscilloscope Laboratories.
Yauch is survived by his wife, Dechen, and his daughter, Tenzin Losel, as well as his parents, Frances and Noel Yauch. Our hearts go out to his family, bandmates, friends and fans during this troubling time. May he rest in peace.
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