Adam Yauch, one third of the white hip-hop group Beastie Boys, which helped bring rap music to the suburbs, has died. He was 47.
Yauch, also known as MCA, died following a battle with cancer, the Associated Press reported, citing his mentor Russell Simmons.
The trio had a hit with “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!)” from their first album in 1986, which peaked at No. 7 on Billboard’s Hot 100, and later won over critics with sampled music, drum beats and biting lyrics on records such as “Paul’s Boutique,” their second release, in 1989. The New York-based group traded on an image of beer-drinking punks and enjoyed their greatest success with Adam “Ad-rock” Horovitz and Michael “Mike D” Diamond.
“The Beastie Boys combined hardcore and hip-hop in a fresh-sounding musical mashup that was danceable, infectious and wickedly funny,” the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame says on its website. “By attracting a sizable following of white fans -- hardcore-loving teens and party-minded frat kids -- with their bratty wit and cunning collages of beats and samples, they broadened the audience for hip-hop, bringing it into the mainstream.”
The Beastie Boys were inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cleveland last month. Yauch didn’t attend the ceremony. They were the third hip-hop group to be inducted, joining Run-D.M.C. and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.
Yauch was born on Aug. 5, 1964, in Brooklyn, to Frances and Noel Yauch, according to the website of the group’s publicist. He taught himself to play bass in high school and formed a band for his 17th birthday party. That group would later become the Beastie Boys.
Doctors found cancer in Yauch’s parotid, or salivary, gland and in a lymph node in his neck, he said in a 2009 video he made for the group’s website.
Yauch is survived by his wife Dechen, daughter Tenzin Losel and his parents, according to his publicist.