Beastie Boys Adam Yauch died of cancer on Friday after a three-year battle with the disease. The Beastie Boys rapper, also known as MCA, was 47. Adam Yauch died in New York on Friday morning.

“It is with great sadness that we confirm that musician, rapper, activist and director Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch … passed away in his native New York City this morning after a near-three-year battle with cancer,” Yauch’s publicist announced in a press statement on Friday. “He was 47 years old.”

The Beastie Boys Adam Yauch was diagnosed with cancer in a salivary gland and lymph node in 2009. Initially it was hoped the cancer would be treatable and he would make a swift recovery. Unfortunately, the Beastie Boy died Friday after three years of fighting a losing battle against the disease.

Adam Yauch co-founded Beastie Boys with Mike D and Ad Rock in 1979. The band went on to become one of the most famous hip-hop rap groups of their time. Beastie Boys music appealed to rap and hip hop lovers across racial boundries.

“The group’s music crossed genres and color lines, and helped bring rap to a wider audience,” said Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy. “Yauch was an immense talent and creative visionary.”

Beastie Boys won numerous awards, including multiple Grammys and were recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame earlier this year. Adan Yauch was unfortunately too ill to attend the induction.

Before Adam Yauch died, the Beastie Boys had not actually performed in public since mid-2009 due to his illness. The band continued to record, however, and produce music videos such as the one for “Make Some Noise” released last year starring a slew of top rank celebrities.

The Beastie Boys Adam Yauch is survived by wife Dechen Wangdu and daughter Tenzin Losel Yauch.

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