Adam Yauch, a.k.a. "MCA," the cofounder of the Beastie Boys rap trio, which also included Mike Diamond, "Mike D," and Adam Horovitz, "Ad-Rock," died on Friday at the age of 47 after a three-year battle with cancer.

The Brooklyn-born Yauch was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 after a tumor was discovered on his parotid gland and lymph nodes. Yauch's illness prevented him from attending the Beastie Boys' induction into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame in April, reports Rolling Stone. The Beastie Boys' iconic rise to fame began in 1986 — seven years after Yauch founded the band — with the release of their album, Licensed to Ill, which featured such classics as "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party)" and "No Sleep Till Brooklyn," and became the highest-selling rap record of the entire decade.

Licensed to Ill was followed by Paul's Boutique, Check Your Head and Ill Communication, all of which were eventually hailed as both critical and commercial successes. Yauch, who was also a filmmaker, directed several Beastie Boys' music videos under the pseudonym Nathaniel Hornblower, including "So What'cha Want," "Intergalactic," and "Make Some Noise."

In 2002, Yauch founded the film production company Oscilloscope Laboratories, which later released the lauded 2010 Banksy film / dubious documentary, Exit Through the Gift Shop.

The band posted the following statement on the Beastie Boys website: "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."

Yauch is survived by his wife, Dechen Wengdu, their daughter Losel and his parents, Frances and Noel Yauch. Back in April, Yauch wrote the following letter to be read to his fans at the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame induction in his absence. "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. This induction is as much ours as it is yours."

For more on the Beastie Boys:

Red Hot Chili Peppers, Guns N' Roses Join Rock N' Roll Hall Of Fame

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