Adam Yauch dies at 47
Adam Yauch, the gruff-voiced rapper, musician and video auteur known as MCA in the groundbreaking hip hop trio The Beastie Boys, has died after a lengthy illness, Billboard has confirmed. He was 47. The band's rep confirmed that Yauch passed away in his native New York City Friday morning after a three-year battle with cancer.
Yauch underwent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in his salivary gland in July 2009. Treatment included radiation therapy, and in December of that year, he sent a email message to fans to share that we was feeling "healthy, strong and hopeful" he'd beaten the disease. The exact cause and place of death wasn't immediately known.
The Beasties' lineup of Michael "Mike D" Diamond, Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz and Yauch came together in Brooklyn in 1983; the group's debut album, 1986's "Licensed To Ill," was produced by Rick Rubin and featured iconic singles like "No Sleep Til Brooklyn," "Brass Monkey" and "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)." After touring the world behind "Ill," the Beastie Boys changed up their sound with 1989 album "Paul's Boutique," a critically lauded, sample-heavy record that featured production from the Dust Brothers.
Among Yauch's many passions was his work behind the camera, most notably under the alias Nathanial Hörnblowér. He directed many of the group's iconic videos, including "So Whatcha Want," "Intergalactic" and last year's star-studded short film for "Make Some Noise." He also made a name for himself in documentary filmmaking, including three full lengths: "Awesome; I Fuckin' Shot That," a concert film; the high school basketball documentary "Gunnin' for That #1 Shot" and the 1998 concert film "Free Tibet."
Yauch was a devout Buddhist and supporter of a free Tibet and in 1994 founded the Milarepa Fund which organized a series of rock festivals called the Tibetan Freedom Concerts, which ran between 1996 and 2001.
Yauch is survived by his wife Dechen Wangdu and their daughter Tenzin Losel.