Friday, May 4, 2012

Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys has died at 47.

The Beastie Boys' website has posted an obituary:

It is with great sadness that we confirm that musician, rapper, activist and director Adam "MCA" Yauch, founding member of Beastie Boys and also of the Milarepa Foundation that produced the Tibetan Freedom Concert benefits, and film production and distribution company Oscilloscope Laboratories, passed away in his native New York City this morning after a near-three-year battle with cancer. He was 47 years old.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Yauch taught himself to play bass in high school, forming a band for his 17th birthday party that would later become known the world over as Beastie Boys.
The New York Times reports:
Mr. Yauch’s mother said he died at 9 a.m. on Friday at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan with his parents, his in-laws, his wife, Dechen Wangdu, and his 13-year-old daughter, Tenzin Losel Yauch, at his bedside. He had been admitted to the hospital on April 14 after a three-year battle with cancer of the salivary gland. He was conscious until the end.

“He was a very courageous person,” his mother, Frances Yauch, said. “He fought a long battle with cancer. He was hopeful to the very end.”

Mrs. Yauch said had been undergoing chemotherapy this spring, but his health deteriorated rapidly over the last two weeks. “It all just seemed to happen overnight,” she said.
MCA is on the right in this video from 2009, announcing his diagnosis.

Pitchfork says:
The Beastie Boys are one of the most important and influential hip-hop groups of all time. They were instrumental in making hip-hop a global, mainstream force. Formed in 1981 as a hardcore band, they combined punk and rap into a singular sound that grew increasingly broad over the years, encompassing a vast array of genres. Yauch, Michael Diamond (Mike D), and Adam Horowitz (Ad-Rock) released several classic albums, including their debut album Licensed to Ill in 1986, 1989's Paul's Boutique, and 1994's Ill Communication.
I'm not generally a big fan of rap, but the Beastie Boys were an incredibly energetic band that brought joy to a lot of people. This is a real loss to music.