The news has broken that Adam Yauch — aka MCA — of the Beastie Boys has died.
In addition to being a much-loved rapper, musician, and cultural commentator, Yauch was a supporter of and friend to Buddhism and a champion for Tibetan rights.
Stories of Yauch’s previously announced cancer and its treatment were taken as good news by many fans, but Yauch stressed in interviews that he was not necessarily cancer-free. Indeed, it was cancer that took Yauch’s life.
The Beastie Boys’ official statement, posted late today, begins:
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.
Read the full statement, which provides a lengthy bio and lists Yauch’s many impressive accomplishments, here.
In his interview from our January 1995 magazine (with Yauch on the cover, as seen here), the articulate and passionate Yauch talked hip-hop, hardcore, helping people, and his relationship to Buddhism’s Bodhisattva Vow — which spawned a classic song on the Beasties’ Ill Communication LP, the latest Beasties release at the time. It’s a glimpse of Yauch at a peak of activity, focused and thoughtful as ever. Read the interview here.
Our condolences to Yauch’s friends and family, and all our fellow fans.
Dwayne Wimmer says
RIP Adam, you are in my thoughts.
You were a legend, RIP Angel x
RIP, good man.
Tibetan in DC says
As a Tibetan I want to express my deep gratitude to Adam Yauch for all he did to raise awareness for our cause – it was lot that he achieved and made a difference thru Milarepa Fund and the Tibetan Freedom Concerts in this short human life – and my sadness over his passing away. On behalf of all Tibetans, those in freedom in exile as well as those under repression in occupied Tibet, I pray for a good rebirth for Adam and solace & comfort for his family.
A butterfly floats on the breeze of a sun lit day
As I feel this reality gently fade away
Riding on a thought to see where it's from
Gliding through a memory of a time yet to come
Smoke paints the air
Swirling images through my mind
Like a whirlpool spin beginning to unwind
And I stand at the edge cautiously awaiting
As time slips by
Carefully navigating by the stars in the sky
And I sit
And I think to myself
And on the horizon the sunlight begins to climb
And it seems like it's been so long since he shined
But I'm sure it was only yesterday
A cold chill of fear cut through me
I felt my heart contract
To my mind I brought the image of light
And I expanded out of it
My fear was just a shadow
And then a voice spoke in my head
And she said
dark is not the opposite of light… It's the absence of light
And I thought to myself
She knows what she's talking about
And for a moment I knew what it was all about
Malcolm D says
With all due respect to Mr. Yauch and his voice for Tibetan Buddhism… What the Beastie Boys did…I do not consider musical in the least.