Adam Yauch – aka MCA from the groundbreaking hip-hop group the Beastie Boys – has died.
He was 47.
A rep for the musician confirmed the news to Access Hollywood on Friday.
“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,” a statement released by the rep said.
Yauch had been battling cancer since 2009, following the discovery of a tumor in his salivary gland. He announced the diagnosis in a video, along with bandmate Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, in July 2009.
In April, Yauch was notably absent from the group’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.
“Beastie Boys regret that Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch will be unable to join Mike ‘Mike D’ Diamond and Adam ‘Adrock’ Horovitz at the band’s induction into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in April,” a statement released by the group said at the time. “Mike, Adam and Adam are truly grateful for the honor but with only two of the three Beastie Boys attending, they will unfortunately not be able to perform at the ceremony.”
In January 2011, Yauch spoke out against reports which claimed he was cancer-free.
“While I’m grateful for all the positive energy people are sending my way, reports of my being totally cancer free are exaggerated,” Yauch said in a statement at the time. “I’m continuing treatment, staying optimistic and hoping to be cancer free in the near future.”
After founding the group in 1979, Yauch, Horovitz and Diamond hit it big in 1986 with the release of “Licensed to Ill,” thanks largely to their mainstream breakout smash “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right to Party.”
The Beastie Boys’ most recent album, “Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2,” was released in 2011.
The group hadn’t performed live since 2009. One of their final appearances was an impromptu set with The Roots during a visit to “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” Check out that performance, HERE!
Yauch is survived by his wife, Dechen Wangdu and their daughter, Tenzin.