Beastie Boys rapper Adam Yauch dead at 47 after battle with cancer Dalai Lama leads tributes to the performer and activist
00:59 GMT, 5 May 2012
Tragic: Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys died this morning at the age of 47
Beastie Boys rapper Adam Yauch has died at 47.
The hip hop star, also known as MCA, passed away this morning after a long battle with cancer.
He is survived by his wife Dechen and his 14-year-old daughter, Tenzin Losel Yauch.
His publicist released a statement confirming the news this afternoon which read: 'It is with great sadness that we confirm that musician, rapper, activist and director Adam 'MCA' Yauch … passed away in his native New York City this morning after a near-three-year battle with cancer.'
Yauch revealed in 2009 that he was undergoing surgery and radiation therapy to treat a tumor in his salivary gland.
At the time, Yauch expressed hope it was 'very treatable.'
Yauch, a practising Buddhist and activist who worked to raise awareness on the plight of the Tibetan people, also turned to a vegan diet and eastern medicine.
Scroll down for video of the Beastie Boys performing…
Seminal hip-hop trio: Mike Diamond (Mike D) and Adam Horovitz (Ad Rock) and Yauch (MCA) in the early 1980s
Fan favourite: Yauch (right) with Ad-Rock (left) and Mike D in his last performance at the 2009 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Tennessee
Last year he denied reports he had beaten the disease, but said he was 'staying optimistic and hoping to be cancer free in the near future.'
His illness caused the group to cancel shows and delayed the release of their 2011 album, Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2.
He hadn't performed in public since 2009
and was absent when the Beastie Boys were inducted into the Rock and
Roll Hall of Fame in April.
Family man: Yauch with his wife Dechen and daughter, Tenzin Losel
TRIBUTES TO MCA
A spokesperson for the Dalai Lama: 'Adam had helped us raise awareness on the plight of the Tibetan people by organizing various freedom Tibet concerts and he will be remembered by his holiness and the Tibetan people.'
Justin Timberlake: 'Crushed to hear the news of Adam Yauch's passing. A true pioneer of art.'
Pete Wentz: 'beastie boys paved the way for so many who came after. #RIPMCA'
MC Hammer: 'R.I.P. Adam Yauch Beastie Boys #RIPMCA'
Jimmy Fallon: 'So sad to hear of the passing of Adam Yauch. He was a great performer, director, father, humanitarian and New Yorker. #RIPMCA'
The Black Eye Peas' will.i.am: '1 of my favorite hiphop groups…hiphop raised a lot of us & now we have to wake up because are hero's are dying too young (sic).”
Run DMC'S Reverend Run: 'R I P Adam… I'm devastated. Praying for Adam Yauch's family from the legendary Beastie Boys. Youll be missed!'
Snoop Dogg: 'RIP MCA U are a Legend and a pioneer. #BeastieBoys4life.'
His band mates Michael Diamond (Mike D) with Adam Horovitz (Ad Rock) read a letter on his behalf.
'I’d like to dedicate this to my brothers Adam and Mike.They walked the
globe with me. It’s also for anyone who has ever been touched by our
band. This induction is as much ours as it is yours.'
Brooklyn-born Yauch created the Beastie Boys with high school friend
They went on sell over 40 million records and release four No. 1
Tributes rolled in for Yauch today including a message of condolence from the Dalai Lama, who met with him several times, most recently in July.
Originally conceived as a hardcore punk group, it soon became a hip-hop trio after Ad-Rock.
They released their chart-topping
debut Licensed to Ill in 1986, a raucous album led by the anthem (You
Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!).
But in the seven studio albums that followed, the Beastie Boys expanded considerably and grew more musically ambitious.
Their follow-up, 1989's Paul's Boutique, ended any suggestion of the group as a one-hit wonder.
Extensive in its sampling and
sonically layered, the album was ranked the 156th greatest album ever by
Rolling Stone magazine in 2003.
The Beastie Boys would later take up
their own instruments – a rarity in hip-hop – on the album Check Your
Head and subsequent releases.
Honoured: Adam, centre, accepting the MTV Video Vanguard Lifetime Achievement in 1998
Long battle with cancer: Yauch was last pictured at New York Film Festival in September last year
The Beastie Boys – a trio of white
Jewish kids – established themselves as one of the most respected groups
in hip-hop at a time when white rappers were few.
Introducing the group at the Rock Hall, Public Enemy rapper Chuck D said the Beastie Boys 'broke the mold.'
'The Beastie Boys are indeed three bad brothers who made history,' said Chuck D.
'They brought a whole new look to rap and hip-hop. They proved that rap could come from any street – not just a few.'
Yauch also went under the pseudonym Nathanial Hornblower when working as a filmmaker.
He directed numerous videos for the
group including So Whatcha Want,” ”Intergalactic,” “Body Movin” and
“Ch-Check It Out.”, as well as the 2006 concert film Awesome: I F—
He also co-founded the film distribution company Osciolloscope Laboratories, named after his New York studio.
The company's credits include We Need to Talk About
Kevin, Wendy and Lucy and the Banksy documentary Exit Through the Gift
Music stars: Adam, centre, with Mike D and Ad Rock in 2006
ADAM THE ACTIVIST
Yauch founded Milarepa Fund, a non-profit organization which promotes Tibetan independence. In 1996, Milarepa produced the first Tibetan Freedom
Concert in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, which was attended by
After September 11, Milarepa organized New Yorkers
Against Violence, a benefit headlined by Beastie Boys in New York, with the proceeds going to to the New York
Women’s Foundation Disaster Relief Fund and the New York Association for
New Americans September 11 Fund for New Americans.
Yauch met his wife Dechen Wangdu, an American-born daughter of prominent Tibetan activists, in 1995 when they both attended a speech by the Dalai Lama at Harvard University.
At the time, Yauch was struggling with the direction of his life, telling Rolling Stone: 'I was debating between the idea of being a celibate and becoming a monk or actually having family. I was deciding whether or not I wanted to try being in a serious relationship or just stay on my own.
'Dechen and I started spending some time together and hanging out, it just felt like it would be great to have a family. That would be the right thing to do.'
They married on May 31, 1998, in New York in a traditional Tibetan wedding ceremony.
Rapper Russell Simmons' website GlobalGrind was the first to report the news. Simmons' Def Jam label released the Beastie Boys' first album, Licensed to Ill.
Watch Yauch's last performance here…