Adam Yauch, Beastie Boys’ MCA, Dies at 47

by Erik Pedersen

UPDATED: The founding member of the iconic hip-hop group was first diagnosed with cancer in 2009.

Adam “MCA” Yauch, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year with his pioneering rap trio Beastie Boys and founded the indie film company Oscilloscope Pictures, has died. He was 47.

His longtime representatives confirmed the news Friday afternoon.

In 2009, Yauch was treated for a cancerous parotid gland and a lymph node and underwent surgery and radiation therapy, delaying the release of the group’s album Hot Sauce Committee and a tour that was to include a headlining slot at Lollapalooza. He announced the news on YouTube in July of that year.  

Yauch was unable to attend the Rock Hall induction ceremony April 14 in Cleveland. He said last year that he was “continuing treatment, staying optimistic and hoping to be cancer-free in the near future.”

Beastie Boys exploded on the national scene in late 1986 with the top 10 single “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party).” The group’s debut album Licensed to Ill became the first rap disc to top the Billboard 200, eventually spending seven weeks at No. 1 and selling more than 9 million units in the U.S.

The trio released eight albums, six of them going platinum and four hitting No. 1, and sold a combined 22 million units stateside and more than 40 million worldwide.

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