After a nearly-three-year battle with cancer, Adam Yauch finally gave in to the illness. The founding member of Beastie Boys, who was diagnosed with a cancerous salivary gland in 2009, passed away in New York at the age of 47 on Friday, May 4, according to the statement released on the hip-hop group's official site.
"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," the statement read, "passed away in his native New York City this morning after a near-three-year battle with cancer."
News of Yauch's passing quickly swept the music world, and many rappers and musicians alike have paid tribute to the late MC. Eminem said in his statement, "Adam Yauch brought a lot of positivity into the world and I think it's obvious to anyone how big of an influence the Beastie Boys were on me and so many others. They are trailblazers and pioneers and Adam will be sorely missed. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, Mike D, and Ad-Rock."
Justin Timberlake wrote on his Twitter account, "Crushed to hear the news of Adam Yauch's passing. A true pioneer of art. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones. #RIPMCA." Meanwhile, Jay-Z took to his website to post a black and white image of Yauch with a message that read, "May a great musical pioneer rest in peace. Our prayers go out to his family, as his hip hop family mourns our loss and celebrates his life."
P. Diddy called Yauch "a true pioneer and a creative force who paved the way for so many of us," Nas mourned the death of a "true legend who influenced me," Q-Tip described the late rapper as "a great artist, visionary and a selfless humanitarian," and Kid Rock said in his statement, "What an inspiration this man was and always will be to me."
Music stars weren't the only one sending their condolences. Rainn Wilson of "The Office" tweeted, "RIP Adam Yauch (MCA of the Beastie Boys). He was a super-genius, a visionary and, most importantly, a really good person," and former Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong wrote on his Twitter account, "Crushed to hear the news of Adam Yauch's passing. #RIPMCA."
Along with Beastie Boys, Yauch has won multiple Grammys. The rap group were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in mid-April, but MCA was not be able to attend the ceremony. He said at the time, "I'm continuing treatment, staying optimistic and hoping to be cancer free in the near future." The rapper is survived by wife Dechen and daughter Tenzin Losel, as well as parents Frances and Noel Yauch.