NEW YORK CITY (NEWS1130) – One of the members of the pioneering rap group the Beastie Boys has died.

Adam “MCA” Yauch’s publicist released the following statement:

“It is with great sadness that we confirm that musician, rapper, activist and director Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch … passed away in his native New York City this morning after a near-three-year battle with cancer. He was 47 years old.”

Yauch sat out the Beastie Boys’ induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last month.

He co-founded the group with Mike “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horowitz in 1979. The Beastie Boys started out as a punk group, evolving into the hip-hop genre. Their big break was with the album Licensed to Ill in 1986. Other notable albums include Paul’s Boutique, Check Your Head, Ill Communication, and Hello Nasty.

Yauch was also an active Buddist who helped organize the Tibetan Freedom Concerts of the late 90s.