In Memoriam: Adam Yauch (Beastie Boys) (1964-2012)

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It with great sadness that we report that Adam Yanch, better known as MCA, of The Beastie Boys has passed away at the age of 47 after a three year bout with Cancer. He was initially diagnosed with cancer of the parotid (salivary) gland in 2009.

At the age of 17,  Yaunch formed The Beastie Boys with Michael “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Adrock” Horovitz. Intiallly starting as hardcore band and soon began experimenting with hip hop as well, the band would go on to sell over 40 million records, release four #1 albums–including the first hip hop album ever to top the Billboard 200, the band’s 1986 debut full length, Licensed To Ill–win three Grammys, and the MTV Video Vanguard Lifetime Achievement award. Last month Beastie Boys were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, with Diamond and Horovitz reading an acceptance speech on behalf of Yauch, who was unable to attend.

On top of The Beastie Boys, Yauch was a founder of the Milarepa Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting awareness and  activism regarding the injustices perpetrated on native Tibetans by Chinese occupational government and military forces.  In 1996, Milarepa produced the first Tibetan Freedom Concert in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, which was attended by 100,000 people, making it the biggest benefit concert on U.S. soil since 1985’s Live Aid. 

Yaunch was also known for directing numerous music videos, under both his own name and the alias Nathanial Hörnblowér.  In 2002, he launched the film production company Oscilloscope Laboratories which has  become a major force in independent video distribution, amassing a catalogue of such acclaimed titles as Kelly Reichardt’s Wendy and Lucy,  Oren Moverman’s The Messenger,  Banksy’s Exit Through The Gift Shop, Lance Bangs and Spike Jonze’s Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait Of Maurice Sendak, and many more.

Our condolences and thoughts go out to MCA’s family and friends.