Posted in hiphop | music on May 4, 2012

Adam Yauch

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.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Yauch taught himself to play bass in high school, forming a band for his 17th birthday party that would later become known the world over as Beastie Boys.

With fellow members Michael "Mike D" Diamond and Adam "Adrock" Horovitz, Beastie Boys 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.

In addition to his hand in creating such historic Beastie Boys albums as Paul's Boutique, Check Your Head, Ill Communication, Hello Nasty and more, 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. The Tibetan Freedom Concert series would continue to stage some of the most significant benefit shows in the world for nearly a decade following in New York City, Washington DC, Tokyo, Sydney, Amsterdam, Taipei and other cities.

In the wake of September 11, 2001, Milarepa organized New Yorkers Against Violence, a benefit headlined by Beastie Boys at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom, with net proceeds disbursed to the New York Women's Foundation Disaster Relief Fund and the New York Association for New Americans (NYANA) September 11th Fund for New Americans-each chosen for their efforts on behalf of 9/11 victims least likely to receive help from other sources.

Under the alias of Nathanial Hörnblowér, Yauch directed iconic Beastie Boys videos including "So Whatcha Want," "Intergalactic," "Body Movin" and "Ch-Check It Out." Under his own name, Yauch directed last year's Fight For Your Right Revisited, an extended video for "Make Some Noise" from Beastie Boys' Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, starring Elijah Wood, Danny McBride and Seth Rogen as the 1986 Beastie Boys, making their way through a half hour of cameo-studded misadventures before squaring off against Jack Black, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly as Beastie Boys of the future.

Yauch's passion and talent for filmmaking led to his founding of Oscilloscope Laboratories, which in 2008 released his directorial film debut, the basketball documentary Gunnin' For That #1 Spot and has since 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.

Yauch is survived by his wife Dechen and his daughter Tenzin Losel, as well as his parents Frances and Noel Yauch.




Comments (50)

Devastating loss. Reincarnate in Peace.

Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 3:41 PM

Sippin' on wine and mackin'

Posted by RIP(!) | May 4, 2012 3:42 PM sad

Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 3:43 PM

Absolutely gutted over this.

Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 3:48 PM

Tough to imagine a more important band of the last 30 years.

Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 3:48 PM

RIP MCA. RIP Beastie Boys.

Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 3:53 PM

Without a doubt one of the most important acts ever. Universally loved and appreciated.


Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 3:58 PM

So sad to hear the news. Great statement by the band. Will be tough to move forward from this, professionally and even more so personally. My prayers to family and friends.

Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 4:01 PM

This is really the most upsetting news I've heard in a long time. RIP MCA. We'll never forget you.

Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 4:03 PM

Nice, let's remember a group who was originally going to name their first album, "Don't be a Faggot".

Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 4:04 PM

Not that it's worth arguing but their entire mindset and values changed drastically over the years. There's probably no one who hates that original title more than they do and I'm sure they are extremely embarrassed by it.

Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 4:06 PM

4:04 is a faggot.

Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 4:09 PM

As I Develop The Awakening Mind I Praise The Buddha As They Shine
I Bow Before You As I Travel My Path To Join Your Ranks,
I Make My Full Time Task
For The Sake Of All Beings I Seek
The Enlighted Mind That I Know I'll Reap
Respect To Shantideva And All The Others
Who Brought Down The Darma For Sisters And Brothers
I Give Thanks For This World As A Place To Learn
And For This Human Body That I'm Glad To Have Earned
And My Deepest Thanks To All Sentient Beings
For Without Them There Would Be No Place To Learn What I'm Seeing
There's Nothing Here That's Not Been Said Before
But I Put It Down Now So I'll Be Sure
To Solidify My Own Views And I'll Be Glad If It Helps
Anyone Else Out Too
If Others Disrespect Me Or Give Me Flack
I'll Stop And Think Before I React =
Knowing That They're Going Through Insecure Stages
I'll Take The Opportunity To Exercise Patience
I'll See It As A Chance To Help The Other Person
Nip It In The Bud Before It Can Worsen
A Change For Me To Be Strong And Sure
As I Think On The Buddhas Who Have Come Before
As I Praise And Respect The Good They've Done
Knowing Only Love Can Conquer In Every Situation
We Need Other People In Order To Create
The Circumstances For The Learning That We're Here To Generate
Situations That Bring Up Our Deepest Fears
So We Can Work To Release Them Until They're Cleared
Therefore, It Only Makes Sense
To Thank Our Enemies Despite Their Intent
The Bodhisattva Path Is One Of Power And Strength
A Strength From Within To Go The Length
Seeing Others Are As Important As Myself
I Strive For A Happiness Of Mental Wealth
With The Interconnectedness That We Share As One
Every Action That We Take Affects Everyone
So In Deciding For What A Situation Calls
There Is A Path For The Good For All
I Try To Make My Every Action For That Highest Good
With The Altruistic Wish To Achive Buddhahood
So I Pledge Here Before Everyone Who's Listening
To Try To Make My Every Action For The Good Of All Beings
For The Rest Of My Lifetimes And Even Beyond
I Vow To Do My Best To Do No Harm
And In Times Of Doubt I Can Think On The Dharma
And The Enlightened Ones Who've Graduated Samsara

Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 4:12 PM

yeah 4:04 maybe you should take their are trying to diss on here

Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 4:12 PM

As far as deaths go, 2012 is turning out to be almost as bad as 2003 in terms of losing legendary talent. And in most cases, the culprit is cancer. Such a bitch.

Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 4:13 PM

Look at what an amazing human being he grew to be since their first album.

such an inspiration

Posted by Burg | May 4, 2012 4:14 PM

4:04, they have spent years disavowing and apologizing for their misogeny and general stupidity during the Licensed to Ill years, and have made up for it several times over. They were kids at the time.

Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 4:15 PM

"I want to say a little something that's long overdue. The disrepect to women has got to be through. To all the mothers and the sisters and the wives and friends, I want to offer my love and respect to the end". Adam Yauch, "Sure Shot".

Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 4:19 PM

@419 there it is.

Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 4:21 PM

Can't believe it. Thought he would somehow be OK...

Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 4:42 PM

This feels like the day the George Harrison died. So sad since Adam Yauch was doing so much and would have done even more.

Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 4:45 PM


Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 4:50 PM

@ 4:12; Beastie Boys Bodhisattva Vow Lyrics. Thank you.

@ 4:19 Representing Adam Yaunch's Sure Shot; thank you.

Posted by M | May 4, 2012 4:52 PM

cooler than a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce

Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 4:58 PM

He loved hummus.

Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 4:58 PM

The end of the beastie boys is something I can't even believe. They were so influential in so many ways.

Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 5:16 PM

Adam was a genuine person and cared deeply about others and was always willing to put his talents into helping others. I hope that high school kids now discover his music and are inspired by him to continue a fight for a "Free Tibet" instead of just fight for their right to " Party!"

Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 5:21 PM

The Rock N Roll hall of fame show airs on HBO tomorrow night. Im sure there will be an added tribute since the beasties were inducted.
Not to mention count on every club in nyc tonight and beyond playing his music.. fuck.

Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 5:24 PM

animal collective is better

Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 6:03 PM

i don't know, am i the only person that thinks 'Dont Be A Faggot' is a pretty awesome album name?

really, a great loss. it's strange how much more the affect is felt when one is lost from your own generation. beastie boys provided the unofficial soundtrack to so many house parties, roadtrips, bong hits, misadventures, and overall rollicking good times. in a strange way it feels like losing a friend that was there with you all the way. and their reach was almost universal. one would be hard pressed to find anybody that grew up in the last 30 years that couldn't quote at least one beastie's line - if even just the 'dick in the mashed potatoes' bit.

anyway, here's to a new york INSTITUTION.

Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 6:09 PM


Posted by Crosseyed Sniper | May 4, 2012 6:19 PM

It's pretty amazing to look back on thier early years and to see what they grew into. How many performers do we see grow both musically and as people from adolescents into adults?

MCA, thanks for the music, and thanks for being you.

Posted by Smoz | May 4, 2012 7:10 PM

All my love and respect.


Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 7:12 PM


Posted by EarlGreyTea | May 4, 2012 7:20 PM


Not a great album name, maybe a single, but a great title for a book.

Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 7:41 PM

^ also not a bad tattoo.

Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 8:30 PM


or bourbon.

Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 8:36 PM

Influential in the last 30 years......stretching it a bit. This was a novelty act for a looking time. Rip mca, job well done in your time with us. Enjoy the next stop.

Posted by Anonymous | May 4, 2012 8:41 PM

I can't wrap my head around how it's possible for the beastie boys to be over or from the past


Fight for your right

such awesome Staten Island boys
captured such a great spirit of ny and brought it into the main stream
so fun
so legit cool

sad :(

Posted by Anonymous | May 5, 2012 12:56 AM

at least they went out well. hot sauce was dope

Posted by Anonymous | May 5, 2012 2:48 AM

God sometimes you just don't come through.

Posted by Anonymous | May 5, 2012 8:30 AM

Who will be his replacement? There has to be three members to perform a lot of those songs. I'm guessing one of the guys from Das Racist or LMFAO or maybe a non-Jew like Kid Cudi or Flocka could work.

Posted by Anonymous | May 5, 2012 10:42 AM

There is no replacement. Beastie Boys are over

Posted by Anonymous | May 5, 2012 12:04 PM

12:04 is an accurate statement. The Beasties are dead - Long live the Beasties!

Posted by Anonymous | May 5, 2012 1:01 PM

why everyone is saying Beastie Boys are over imo they should keep making music

Posted by Anonymous | May 7, 2012 3:32 AM

They should have a reality show documenting the search for his replacement in the group. Like TLC did.

Posted by Anonymous | May 7, 2012 8:51 AM

Very sad t hear this news. Adam was obviously a creative, lovely, and selfless person. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and their loved ones. May you find joy and peace again soon.

Posted by Anonymous | May 7, 2012 9:46 PM

How could they replace MCA? they formed the group together and were more than business/musical partners, they were friends and the perfect arrangements, finishing each others sentences in songs, perfect timing, tag team style rapping, not to mention he's the worst they could have lost, the other 2 guys have high voices, he had a low, hoarse, raspy voice that suited him perfectly as his hair whitened lol. they cant replace him with just anyone, and I never heard someone that used his style, and he really brought their songs to the next level when they would mix their voices together and his would come in low. it was a perfect matchup

Posted by CW | May 9, 2012 6:29 PM

This Cancer thing SUCKS!

Posted by Gemini | May 11, 2012 7:55 AM

bestie boys rule.

Posted by jordon | July 31, 2013 5:18 PM

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