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Published: 2012/05/04

Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch Dies at Age 47

Beastie Boys co-founder Adam Yauch has died after a three-year battle with cancer. He was 47.

Yauch, known to fans as MCA, co-founded the Beastie Boys in 1979 remained one of the band’s principal voices along with Mike Diamond (Mike D) and Adam Horowitz (Ad-Rock). He was first diagnosed with cancer in 2009, forcing the Beastie Boys to postpone the release of 2011’s Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2. The Beastie Boys have not toured since Yauch’s diagnosis and, more recently, the rapper missed the Beastie Boys’ induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. One of his final concerts was at the 2009 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival.

The Beastie Boys originally formed to play Yauch’s 17th birthday. In their earliest incarnation, the Beasties were a hardcore punk band, however, the trio quickly turned their attention to the then-burgeoning hip-hop scene. The stylistic change led to their breakthrough album Licensed to Ill, which contains the hit punk-rap single “Fight For Your Right.” The follow-up, 1989’s Paul’s Boutique, produced by the Dust Brothers, is considered one of the all-time classic albums in hip-hop history, and the Beasties popularity only increased from there. As their career progressed, the group expanded their scope to include the Tibetan Freedom Concerts in the ’90 and a pair of instrumental funky jazz records, The In Sound From Way Out! and The Mix-Up. Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2 currently stands as the Beasties final recorded product, and there is no news yet regarding the remaining members future plans.

In addition to his production, writing and vocal contributions to the band, Yauch played bass with the group when they performed with instruments. He was also an active supporter of the free Tibet movement and ran his own film company. Yauch is survived by his wife Dechen and his daughter Tenzin Losel, as well as his parents Frances and Noel Yauch.

Please click here to read Relix‘s 2007 cover story on the group.

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