“RIP MCA.” These six letters have lit up the social networks within the past 24 hours as news has spread of the passing of Adam (“MCA”) Yauch, founding member of the legendary Beastie Boys. He lost his battle with cancer and died in New York City on May 4, at the age of 47, evoking an outpouring of sorrow and sympathy from fans.
Yauch first announced his cancer diagnosis in the summer of 2009, putting a hold on plans for a major comeback push for The Beastie Boys, centered around the expected release of Hot Sauce Committee, Part 1 (a record which has never actually been released; Part 2 was released last year). Throughout the course of his battle, Yauch remained positive, as reports spread that his cancer was a highly treatable form. At one point, it was rumored that he was cancer-free, a rumor Yauch himself dispelled. “I’m continuing treatment,” he said, “staying optimistic, and hoping to be cancer free in the near future.”
MCA was unable to attend his induction with the Beastie Boys into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last month—an early indication to fans that things might not be going so well. He died the morning of May 4, and an official statement appeared on the Beastie Boys website a short time later.
The Beastie Boys have thus far enjoyed the longest run of any hip-hop band, winning three Grammys and selling over 40 million albums during a career spanning over three decades. (They were only the third hip-hop act to be inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame.) As for Yauch himself, besides his work with the Beastie Boys, he had also ventured into filmmaking, directing several independent films and founding the film company Oscilliscope Laboratories (whose recently released the indie film We Need To Talk About Kevin). Yauch was also an activist, perhaps best known for his efforts in the Free Tibet movement.
RIP MCA. You will be missed.