Famed hip-hop trio the Beastie Boys are mourning the loss of their brother-in-rhyme Adam "MCA" Yauch, who died May 4 as a result of his battle with cancer, according to TMZ. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native was 47.
Fours years ago on July 20, 2009, Yauch announced he had been diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in his parotid gland, located in the mouth. As a result of the disease, the Beastie Boys had postponed all tour dates and pushed back the release of their eighth studio album, originally titled Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 1, which was later released and titled Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2.
His illness may have caused setbacks in his personal life and career but Yauch put up a strong fight, battling against the cancer. In August 2009, he underwent surgery to remove the tumor in his glands. Several months prior, he had asked fans to meditate with him in an effort to smash "apart all the cancer cells in the world."
Earlier this year, reports that the veteran rhymer were cancer-free surfaced, however, Yauch dismissed the news via his publicist. "I'm continuing treatment, staying optimistic and hoping to be cancer free in the near future," he said.
Adam "MCA" Yauch, Michael "Mike D" Diamond and Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz formed the Beastie Boys in 1979, starting off as a punk band and later transitioned to hip-hop in 1984. The threesome released their debut album, Licensed to Ill, in 1986, noted as Columbia Records' "fastest-selling debut record to date and sold over 9 million copies."
They've gone on to release numerous albums, won a Grammy award for their 1995 hit "Sabotage," among other Grammy accomplishments, earned MTV Video Music Awards for videos "Intergalactic" and "Make Some Noise" and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2012. Yauch was absent from the ceremony, however, Diamond and Horowitz accepted the achievement in his honor.
Yauch is survived by his wife Dechen Wangdu and daughter, Tenzin Losel Yauch.