Adam Yauch, part of the groundbreaking hip-hop trio the Beastie Boys, has died, theAssociated Press confirmed, citing the band’s mentor, Russell Simmons. He was 47.
Yauch, known by the stage name MCA, was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 after doctors discovered a tumor in his salivary gland. He underwent surgery and radiation therapy to treat the disease.
Because of his treatments, Yauch sat out the Beastie Boys’ induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April. The band also delayed the release of their latest album, “Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2.” The group had not performed live since the year Yauch was diagnosed with cancer.
Yauch co-founded the Beastie Boys with Mike “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horowitz in 1979. They became known on a national level with their 1986 album, “Licensed to Ill,” and cemented themselves as hip-hop pioneers with the subsequent albums “Paul’s Boutique,” “Check Your Head” and “Ill Communication.”
Yauch was also a huge proponent of the movement to free Tibet and helped organize the Tibetan Freedom Concerts in the late ’90s. The country’s philosophies seeped into his life; he was a practicing Buddhist and became a vegan on the recommendation of his Tibetan doctors.
He is survived by his wife, Dechen Wangdu, and their daughter.