Update: Yauch’s publicist has issued a statement confirming the rapper’s death.
From New York firm Nasty Little Man: “It is with great sadness that we confirm that musician, rapper, activist and director Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch, founding member of Beastie Boys and also of the Milarepa Foundation that produced the Tibetan Freedom Concert benefits, and film production and distribution company Oscilloscope Laboratories, passed away in his native New York City this morning after a near-three-year battle with cancer. He was 47 years old.”
While the cause of death remains unconfirmed, Yauch had been in treatment for cancer since 2009, when doctors discovered a tumor in his salivary gland. Concern over Yauch’s condition increased last month after he was unable to attend the Beastie Boys’ induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside bandmates Mike “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horowitz, with whom he formed the group in 1979.
The Brooklyn-born musician was a practicing Buddhist and a vegan who devoted much of his energies to the movement to free Tibet, co-organizing a series of Tibetan Freedom Concerts from 1996-2001. He also directed several films under the umbrella of his film production company, Oscilloscope Laboratories.
Yauch’s death was first reported in a blog post at GlobalGrind written by Russell Simmons, who signed the Beastie Boys to their first record deal at Def Jam.
“GlobalGrind is confirming this very sad news,” Simmons wrote. “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.”
Yauch is survived by his wife, Dechen Wangdu, and daughter, Tenzin Losel Yauch.
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