Beastie Boys Issue An Official Statement Regarding Adam Yauch’s Death


Yesterday afternoon we learned the terribly sad news that Adam Yauch, MCA of Beastie Boys, passed away at the age of 47 after an almost 3 year battle with cancer. As you may recall when the news broke, the details surrounding Adam’s death were very light and no official confirmation was available. Today we are hearing from the Beastie Boys themselves in an official statement posted on their band website confirming Yauch’s passing in a touching and very loving eulogy. Click below to read the statement in full.

Adam Yauch • 1964-2012

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, passed away in his native New York City this morning after a near-three-year battle with cancer. He was 47 years old.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Yauch taught himself to play bass in high school, forming a band for his 17th birthday party that would later become known the world over as Beastie Boys.

With fellow members Michael “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Adrock” Horovitz, Beastie Boys would go on to sell over 40 million records, release four #1 albums–including the first hip hop album ever to top the Billboard 200, the band’s 1986 debut full length, Licensed To Ill–win three Grammys, and the MTV Video Vanguard Lifetime Achievement award. Last month Beastie Boys were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, with Diamond and Horovitz reading an acceptance speech on behalf of Yauch, who was unable to attend.

In addition to his hand in creating such historic Beastie Boys albums as Paul’s Boutique, Check Your Head, Ill Communication, Hello Nasty and more, Yauch was a founder of the Milarepa Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting awareness and activism regarding the injustices perpetrated on native Tibetans by Chinese occupational government and military forces. In 1996, Milarepa produced the first Tibetan Freedom Concert in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, which was attended by 100,000 people, making it the biggest benefit concert on U.S. soil since 1985’s Live Aid. The Tibetan Freedom Concert series would continue to stage some of the most significant benefit shows in the world for nearly a decade following in New York City, Washington DC, Tokyo, Sydney, Amsterdam, Taipei and other cities.

In the wake of September 11, 2001, Milarepa organized New Yorkers Against Violence, a benefit headlined by Beastie Boys at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom, with net proceeds disbursed to the New York Women’s Foundation Disaster Relief Fund and the New York Association for New Americans (NYANA) September 11th Fund for New Americans–each chosen for their efforts on behalf of 9/11 victims least likely to receive help from other sources.

Under the alias of Nathanial Hörnblowér, Yauch directed iconic Beastie Boys videos including “So Whatcha Want,” “Intergalactic,” “Body Movin” and “Ch-Check It Out.” Under his own name, Yauch directed last year’s Fight For Your Right Revisited, an extended video for “Make Some Noise” from Beastie Boys’ Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, starring Elijah Wood, Danny McBride and Seth Rogen as the 1986 Beastie Boys, making their way through a half hour of cameo-studded misadventures before squaring off against Jack Black, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly as Beastie Boys of the future.

Yauch’s passion and talent for filmmaking led to his founding of Oscilloscope Laboratories, which in 2008 released his directorial film debut, the basketball documentary Gunnin’ For That #1 Spot and has since become a major force in independent video distribution, amassing a catalogue of such acclaimed titles as Kelly Reichardt’s Wendy and Lucy, Oren Moverman’s The Messenger, Banksy’s Exit Through The Gift Shop, Lance Bangs and Spike Jonze’s Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait Of Maurice Sendak, and many more.

Yauch is survived by his wife Dechen and his daughter Tenzin Losel, as well as his parents Frances and Noel Yauch.

Altho we do not know for sure the cause of death, I think it’s safe to assume that Adam Yauch’s cancer illness at the very least played a part. There is no question that Adam Yauch and the Beastie Boys changed the music landscape forever. Their influence on the world today cannot be measured in reasonable terms … they changed the world, plain and simple. We lost a great man in Adam Yauch. But, according to his Buddhist beliefs, Yauch may likely be reincarnated and hopefully back among us ready to change the world again … and there is something very comforting in that belief.


  • nellstar

    Ah, Trent. Your words never fail. You brought tears to my eyes. Well done, my friend.

  • karen

    The part about how he/they selected beneficiaries of the post-9/11 concert who would be least likely to receive support from other sources touches me. It shows such sensitivity, awareness, and compassion.

    He had such powerful energy. What a sad loss for his loved ones and for the rest of us. Much gratitude to him for all he gave.

  • Johnny

    “according to his Buddhist beliefs, Yauch is likely reincarnated and is hopefully back among us here on Earth” … clearly you don’t know much about Buddhism.

    • @Johanny — By all means, please enlighten :)

  • C

    well i think that reincarnation is more of a Hindu belief and Buddhists believe in rebirth. Buddhists, as far as I know, don’t believe in a permanent self, so rebirth doesn’t always happen in human form and depending on the life you’ve led (karma from the things you’ve done) you can be reborn as an animal or as any being in the upper or lower realms. Whereas reincarnation believes that when you die you’ll come back as another person. Either way MCA made an impact on lots of people and I regret never getting to see him and the other beasties in concert.