Beastie Boys founding member Adam Yauch, 47, died May 4, 2012, after a three-year battle with cancer.
Yauch’s passing comes less than a month after the enormously successful and influential Brooklyn. N.Y., hip-hop act he co-founded in 1979 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was unable to attend the April 14 ceremony, at which his bandmates paid tribute to him and read a letter from him to the audience.
Also known as “MCA,” Yauch formed the Beastie Boys with school friend Michael “Mike D” Diamond in the late ’70s as a hardcore punk outfit. Soon becoming a hip-hip trio with the addition of Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, the group released seminal chart-topping debut Licensed to Ill in 1986. The band stretched out artistically to great sales and critical acclaim over subsequent albums such as Paul’s Boutique (1989), Check Your Head (1992), Ill Communication (1994), Hello Nasty (1995) and others.
Yauch contributed vocals, bass guitar and keyboards to the Beastie Boys. He was also a filmmaker and practicing Buddhist who actively supported the Tibetan independence movement. He is survived by his wife and daughter.