Beastie Boys official announcement on Adam Yauch, artist tributes flowThe Beastie Boys have confirmed today's (early) morning news that founding member Adam 'MCA' Yauch has passed away.
Read the statement posted on their website below:
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."
Tributes have been flowing for Yauch from across the industry.
Coldplay performed at the Hollywood Bowl in California last night:
Paste and Stereogum both have fairly comprehensive wrap ups of twitter reactions from names across all walks of live. Both are moving reminders of how far and wide the Beastie's influence was. As well as what a great man Yauch seems to have been.
Stereogum also have an involving '20 Great Adam Yauch Moments' that dishes some dirt.
Classical.org talks Yauch's basketball movie Gunnin' For That #1 Spot and mentions how Yach was "actually [the] only hip-hop personage I can think of to sport gray hair".
Music critic Sasha Frere-Jones grew up with Yauch and has penned a terrific piece for the New Yorker.
"Adam Yauch was a part of my childhood, an ambassador to America from our New York, which is now gone, as is he." Questlove from the Roots does a sweethearted ramble, reminiscing about opening for them in '95.
Pitchfork have a round of all the best clips.
Cool piece on Gawker about Yauch crashing the stage at the 2004 VMA's in disguise.
And Chuck D of Public Enemy, who has just arrived in Australia to perform at the Groovin the Moo festivals, had this to say on the PE site:
"Last night I took a 14 hour flight to Sydney Australia from LA embarking on PEs 80th tour in 25 years. I landed I got 65 texts with the news. Adam and theBoys put us on our first tour 25 years and 79 tours ago. They were essential to our beginning, middle and today. Adam especially was unbelievable in our support from then till now even allowing me to speech induct them into the Rock hall of fame. I consider my self a strong man and my father says be prepared to lose many on your post 50 path of life. Still Im a bit teary eyed leaving this plane R.I.P Adam Aka MCA'
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