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Report: Beastie Boys rapper Adam "MCA" Yauch dies

1:55 PM, May 4, 2012   |    comments
Adam Yauch attends the premiere of "The Social Network" on Sept. 24, 2010, in New York. (Credit: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
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(CNN) [Updated at 2:34 p.m. ET] Adam "MCA" Yauch, a member of the groundbreaking New York rap trio Beastie Boys, has died at the age of 47, Rolling Stone magazine reported Friday afternoon.

Yauch revealed in July 2009 that he had surgery for a cancer in a salivary gland and a lymph node. Information on the cause of Yauch's death wasn't immediately available.

Yauch's death would come less than a month after the Beastie Boys were inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. Because of his fight with cancer, Yauch did not attend, Rolling Stone reported.

The Beastie Boys - Yauch, Adam "Ad-Rock" Horowitz and Michael "Mike D" Diamond - did not perform that night. But Horowitz read a letter from Yauch to the audience.

"I'd like to dedicate this to my brothers Adam and Mike," Yauch wrote, according to Rolling Stone. "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."

2009 video: Cancer cancels Beastie Boys' tour dates

Yauch's cancer delayed the release of their most recent album, "Hot Sauce Committee Part II," for two years. It was supposed to come out in 2009, but instead was released in spring 2011.

The Beastie Boys' debut album, 1986's "Licensed to Ill" - featuring the singles "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party)," "No Sleep Till Brooklyn," "Paul Revere" and "Brass Monkey" - was the first rap album to reach No. 1 on the Billboard album charts.

Yauch was a founding member of the group, which played for the first time at his birthday party in 1981, according to the band's Facebook page.

He converted to Buddhism in the 1990s after visiting Nepal and hearing the Dalai Lama speak in Arizona, he told the Buddhist magazine Shambhala Sun in 1995.

"It just seemed like Buddhism, especially Tibetan Buddhism, because that's mainly what I've been exposed to, was a real solid organization of teachings to point someone in the right direction," the magazine quoted him as saying. "Some real well thought out stuff. But I don't know, like, every last detail about Buddhism."

The conversion led him to have second thoughts about the baudy party-boy image the band portrayed in the 1980s, he told the Boston Globe in 1998.

"I didn't realize how much harm I was doing back then," the paper quoted him as saying. "And I think a lot of rap artists probably don't realize it now. I said a lot of stuff fooling around back then, and I saw it do a lot of harm. I had kids coming up to me and saying, 'Yo, I listen to your records while I'm smoking dust, man.' And I'd say, 'Hey, man, we're just kidding. I don't smoke dust.' People need to be more aware of how they're affecting people."

As a Buddhist, Yauch became an advocate for Tibetan freedom, organizing concerts involving the Beastie Boys and other acts to raise money for the cause, including the first Tibetan Freedom Concert in 1996. Several similar concerts followed.

He married Dechen Wangdu in 1998 and together the couple had a daughter, according to a prominent online entertainment website.

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