Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch, better known to millions as MCA, died earlier today, May 4, several sources now confirm. He was 47.
Yauch, who was born August 5, 1964, in Brooklyn, New York, was a founding member — along with Mike "Mike D" Diamond and Adam "Ad-Rock" Horowitz — of the Beastie Boys, a hardcore-turned-rap group that proved immensely influential in the hip-hop and rock communities.
The band's debut album, 1986's Licensed to Ill, essentially created what we now know today as rap-rock or rap-metal, with Slayer guitarist Kerry King lending his talents to one of the album's biggest cuts, "No Sleep Till Brooklyn."
"Words can't express the sadness and loss," said Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello. "Your humor, talent and gentle soul are just irreplacable. Be at peace brother."
Green Day's BillieJoe Armstrong Tweeted, "Lollapalooza '94, talked to Yauch almost everyday. He was full of wisdom and encouragement for a freaked out kid like I was. Thank you MCA."
Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd also took to Twitter to react to the news, posting, "The Beastie Boys and MCA were a big source of inspiration to Incubus. Our love and thoughts are with them."
Yauch was diagnosed with a cancerous parotid gland and a lymph node in 2009. After undergoing treatment it was rumored that MCA had beaten his cancer, but Yauch posted a cautionary message to fans in 2011, saying, "While I’m grateful for all the positive energy people are sending my way, reports of my being totally cancer free are exaggerated. I’m continuing treatment, staying optimistic and hoping to be cancer free in the near future."
The Beastie Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last month, with Yauch being inducted in absentia. Their most recent album, Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, was released in April 2011.