Beastie Boys rapper and founding member Adam Yauch, also known as “MCA,” died of cancer today, and we’re genuinely sad. Yauch was only 47 years old, and discovered a tumor on his left salivary gland just three years ago that delayed the band’s work at the time.
In 2009. Yauch announced that he had cancerous growths in his parotid gland and a lymph node, and was optimistic about his treatment and survival prospects, although it put a halt to the release of Beastie Boys’ album Hot Sauce Committee Part Two. He underwent surgery and radiation, and went on a vegan, organic under the advice of his Tibetan doctors (Yauch was a practicing Buddhist and active supporter of the movement to free Tibet).
Yauch remained optimistic about his health, telling fans after his initial treatment that he felt “healthy, strong and hopeful that I’ve beaten this thing, but of course time will tell.” But in 2011, he announced that he hadn’t completely recovered as thought. His illness forced him to miss the band’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame two weeks ago, where Mike D and Ad-Rock read a letter from Yauch:
I’d like to dedicate this to my brothers Adam and Mike. They walked the globe with me. It’s also for anyone who has ever been touched by our band. This induction is as much ours as it is yours.
No celebrity death is ever good news, but this one makes us especially sad–Yauch’s positive influence extended beyond his music, and his cancer was a rare case that turned out for the worst, despite his optimism and proactive treatment.