The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame just a few weeks ago, though his health issues prevented Yauch from joining bandmates Michael “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz at the ceremony.
The news was first announced by Def Jam founder Russell Simmons’s website Global Grind, which stated, "One of our heroes, Adam Yauch aka MCA of the Beastie Boys has passed this morning after a long bout with cancer. Our prayers go out to the family of Adam and the entire Beastie Boys crew."
Not only was Yauch a member of the iconic and innovative punk band turned rap trio that helped shape the course of hip-hop history, he was also a humanitarian activist and the founder of film distribution company Oscilloscope Laboratories. He shot many Beasties videos under the guise of his alter ego “Nathaniel Hornblower”—who famously stormed the stage at the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards in protest when R.E.M.’s video beat out the Spike Jonze-directed “Sabotage.”
Yauch will be sorely missed by millions of music fans, but the Beastie Boys’ influence on hip-hop and pop culture will continue to resonate for generations to come. RIP, MCA.
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