Adam Yauch, founder of the Beastie Boys, died Friday morning in New York City after a nearly 3-year battle with cancer. He was 47.
Yauch's publicist and Def Jam, which released the Beastie Boys' first album, Licensed to Ill, confirmed his death.
The Brooklyn-born rapper, known as MCA, was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 after a tumor was discovered in his salivary gland. He had undergone surgery and radiation, which caused the bandmembers to delay the release of their 2011 album, Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2, and cancel parts of their tour.
Yauch taught himself to play bass in high school and, in 1979, formed the trio with Michael "Mike D" Diamond and Adam "Adrock" Horowitz during his 17th birthday party, according to his publicist.
The Beastie Boys went on to sell more than 40 million records, win three Grammys and the MTV Video Vanguard Lifteime Achievement award. Yauch did not attend the Beastie Boys' induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April.
The rapper also founded the Milarepa Fund, a non-profit dedicated to promoting awareness and activism about Tibet, and directed many of the group's videos, including "So Whatcha Want," "Intergalactic," "Body Movin," "Ch-Check It Out," "Fight For Your Right Revisited," and "Make Some Noise," according to his publicist.
In 2008, he founded the production company Oscilloscope Laboratories, which released such movies as "Banksy's Exit Through The Gift Shop," and Lance Bangs and Spike Jonze's "Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait Of Maurice Sendak."
The Beastie Boys' label, Columbia Records, declined to comment on Yauch's death.
Yauch is survived by his wife, Dechen, his daughter, Tenzin Losel, and his parents, Frances and Noel Yauch.
Watch the Beasties' 1986 video for "Fight For Your Right" below.
And here's "No Sleep Till Brooklyn":