Remembering Beastie Boy Adam Yauch

Take a look back at Beastie Boys co-founder Adam Yauch and his career with the seminal hip-hop group.

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Beastie Boys rapper MCA – real name Adam Yauch – has died at the age of 47. The Brooklyn-born musician was being treated for a cancerous parotid gland and a lymph node. Click to see photos from his career.
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Yauch founded the Beastie Boys as a hardcore punk band in the early '80s with Mike D (Michael Diamond) and Ad Rock (Adam Horovitz). The group debuted at Yauch's 17th birthday party.
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Long before the juvenile trio became vegans and Buddhists, Rolling Stone famously introduced the iconic punk-rap Beastie Boys with the headline: “Three Idiots Create a Masterpiece.”
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After achieving mediocre success with the 1983 release of their hip-hop spoof album "Cooky Puss," the Beastie Boys teamed up with legendary producer Rick Rubin, who shortly after started the Def Jam record label from his college dorm room.
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Redferns
Although critics initially slammed the group for co-opting black music, the trio was eventually embraced by the hip-hop community. The Beastie Boys toured with Run-D.M.C. as part of their "Raisin' Hell" tour in 1986 and appeared in the Run-D.M.C. movie "Tougher Than Leather" in 1988.
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WireImage
The Beastie Boys were the first white rap group to gain widespread popularity. Their first full-length album, "Licensed to Ill," was the first rap album to reach No. 1 with hit singles like “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party)” and “Brass Monkey.” They headlined their own tour in 1987.
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Before the Beastie Boys really hit it big, they performed as the opening act for Madonna’s "The Virgin Tour" in 1985.
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AP
Here the Beastie Boys rehearse at New York's Radio City Music Hall in 1994.
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Redferns
Adam Yauch performs on stage circa 2000.
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WireImage
Over the years Adam Yauch became involved with many creative and humanitarian causes. Here he speaks during Amnesty International USA's 5th Annual Media Spotlight Awards at Pier 60 in New York City.
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Deyden Tethong of Milarepa Fund and Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys attend a press conference at Tibetan Freedom Concert in Wisconsin in 1999. The Beastie Boys have taken on political causes like organizing the Tibetan Freedom concert and a post-9/11 anti-violence event in New York.
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WireImage
Besides music, Yauch was also interested in film. He directed several Beastie Boys music videos and a few short films. “Fight for Your Right Revisited,” in which all three of the Beastie Boys appear as cops, debuted at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
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Adam Yauch also directed the film "Awesome: I F*ckin' Shot That!" in which audience members were given cameras to shoot a Beastie Boys concert at Madison Square Garden in 2004. Here he poses for a portrait at the Getty Images Portrait Studio during the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.
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Actress Laura Dern and musician Sheryl Crow pose with Yauch at the 2009 Vanity Fair Oscar party in 2009.
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In recent years when the Beastie Boys took their show on the road their main prop was an eye-catching 20-foot inflatable penis.
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Adam Yauch performs on stage during the Live Earth London concert at Wembley Stadium in 2007.
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Adam Yauch attends the premiere of "Gunnin' for That #1 Spot," his documentary about high school basketball players, during the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival in New York.
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The Beastie Boys won multiple Grammys and they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year, although Adam Yauch was unable to attend due to his health issues. Accepting the honor, 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.”
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The group has had four No. 1 albums and earned $40 million in sales. "Licensed to Ill" (1986) was the first hip-hop album to top the Billboard 200.
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Yauch is survived by his wife, Tibetan American activist Dechen Wangdu, and 13-year-old-daughter, Tenzin Losel Yauch.
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Hip-hip icons weighed in on Yauch’s death, with rapper Ice T tweeting: "TERRIBLE NEWS: MCA of the Beastie Boys has died at 47. Another very sad day in Hip Hop. #MCARIP"
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