Beastie Boys MCA (Adam Yauch) Passes Away at Age 47.
Beastie Boys rapper, musician and video director Adam Yauch, known as MCA in the groundbreaking hip hop trio, has died after a lengthy illness, Billboard has confirmed. He was 47.
It was announced in 2009 that Yauch had a cancerous parotic gland and underwent surgery and radiation therapy.
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.
The Beasties continued to collect hits in the 90s, with songs like "So Whatcha Want," "Sabotage" and "Intergalactic" coming from 1992's "Check Your Head," 1994's "Ill Communication" and 1998's "Hello Nasty," respectively. The group went on a hiatus before returning with 2004's "To The 5 Boroughs," a post-9/11 tribute to New York City that included the hit single "Ch-Check It Out."
After releasing an instrumental album, "The Mix-Up," in 2007, the Beasties had announced a Sept. 15, 2009 release date for their eighth album, "Hot Sauce Committee Part 1." But Yauch's cancer diagnosis forced the group to push back the album and scrap headlining dates at festivals like Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits in 2009. A revised version of "Hot Sauce Committee" was released in 2011, but Yauch's health prevented the trio from touring behind the record.
In January of 2011, Mike D told the BBC that the group was "really happy" about Yauch's improved health, a statement that led to reports that Yauch was cancer-free. A spokesperson for the group told Billboard at the time that "Mike did not say that" and Yauch released a statement thanking fans for their support.
"While I'm grateful for all the positive energy people are sending my way, reports of my being totally cancer free are exaggerated," said Yauch. "I'm continuing treatment, staying optimistic and hoping to be cancer free in the near future."
The nine Beastie Boys albums released in the SoundScan era (including two greatest hits packages and one archive release, "Same Old Bullshit") have sold 10.2 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The Beastie Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last month, but did not attend the April 14 ceremony.
"We're in the rock and roll hall of fame? That's f----n' crazy and awesome!" the group said in a statement. "While we are very proud of the music we make, we have to acknowledge the inspiration from our families, friends and musicians like the slits, bad brains, x-ray spex, the treacherous three and too many others to possibly name. And most of all, we give thanks to New York City and the world of musical influence it provided for us."
Yauch is survived by his wife Dechen Wangdu and their daughter Tenzin Losel.