Adam Yauch, co-founder of the GRAMMY-winning trio Beastie Boys, died May 4 following a battle with cancer. He was 47. Yauch, also known as MCA, co-founded the Beastie Boys in New York in 1979 with Mike "Mike D" Diamond and Adam "Ad-Rock" Horowitz. The hip-hop trio's debut album, 1986's Licensed To Ill, peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and spawned the hit singles "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)" and "Brass Monkey." The Beastie Boys released Paul's Boutique in 1989, followed by 1992's Check Your Head, which garnered the group their first GRAMMY nomination for Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group. The trio earned their first two GRAMMY Awards in 1998 for Best Alternative Music Performance for Hello Nasty, and Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group for "Intergalactic." The trio's most recent GRAMMY came in 2007 for Best Pop Instrumental Album for The Mix-Up. Their latest release, 2011's Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. The Beastie Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April.
"A rapper, musician and director, Yauch was an immense talent and creative visionary, and an instrumental force in the group's career for more than three decades," said Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow. "In addition to his music and artistry, he was a philanthropist who devoted much of his energy to his passionate support for freedom of expression. The music world has lost a true trailblazer, and our deepest sympathies are with his family, friends and fans throughout the world."