Beastie Boys co-founder Adam Yauch dies of cancer

NEW YORK CITY (BNO NEWS) — Rapper Adam Yauch, a co-founder of the Grammy-winning hip hop group the Beastie Boys, died in his native New York City on Friday morning after a long battle with a rare form of cancer, his publicist said in a statement. He was 47 years old.

Yauch, from the New York City borough of Brooklyn, co-founded the Beastie Boys in 1979 along with Mike Diamond, or ‘Mike D’, and Adam Horowitz who is known as ‘Ad-Rock’. Yauch himself was best known by his stage name MCA.

“It is with great sadness that we confirm that musician, rapper, activist and director Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch passed away in his native New York City this morning after a near-three-year battle with cancer,” the band’s New York-based publicist said in a statement.

Beginning their musical career as a hardcore punk band, the group had initial success in the local music scene. But after experimenting with hip hop, the group ultimately gained worldwide fame with their 1986 debut album ‘Licensed to Ill’. The album was the first hip hop album ever to top the Billboard 200.

The Beastie Boys went on to sell over 40 million records, release four number 1 albums (including ‘Licensed to Ill’), win three Grammys, and win the MTV Video Vanguard Lifetime Achievement award. Last month, the Beastie Boys were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, with Diamond and Horovitz reading an acceptance speech on behalf of Yauch, who was unable to attend due to his illness.

In July 2009, Yauch announced in a YouTube video that he had to undergo surgery and radiation treatment for cancer in the parotid gland in his neck. “It is something that is very treatable and in most cases they are able to completely get rid of it and people don’t have continuing problems with it and they caught it early and it is not anywhere else in my body,” he said at the time. “So that is the good news.”

Yauch is survived by his wife Dechen and his daughter Tenzin Losel, as well as his parents Frances and Noel Yauch.

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