(Gibson) Beastie Boys MC and bassist Adam Yauch (a.k.a. MCA) has passed away from cancer, according to TMZ. He was 47.
Yauch helped form the Beastie Boys in 1981, and they were initially a hardcore punk band. Soon, the group – including Mike Diamond (Mike D) and Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock) – became a hip-hop act, releasing their landmark debut, License to Ill, in 1986. It was the first hip-hop album to top the Billboard charts.
During their career, the Beasties became known for pushing hip-hop's boundaries: taking sampling to new heights (with the help of the Dust Brothers) on Paul's Boutique and merging rock and rap in a groundbreaking way on Check Your Head and Ill Communication. In addition to rapping and playing bass on Beasties hits such as "Sabotage," Yauch directed many of the band's videos under the name Nathaniel Hornblower. He also ran an independent film production company and organized the Tibetan Freedom Concerts.
Yauch was diagnosed with cancer in his salivary glands. His illness forced the cancelation of the band's summer tour and their album Hot Sauce Committee. However, he was well enough to help the group complete and release Hot Sauce Committee Part Two in 2011. Word spread last month that Yauch's illness had taken a turn for the worse when he was not present at the Beasties' induction ceremony into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. more on this story