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Brooklyn Mourns Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch

Fans, friends remember hip hop pioneer's work that broke through cultural, style and generational barriers.

Adam Yauch of Brooklyn's Beastie Boys, who went by the stage name MCA, has been reported dead by Russell Simmon's site globalgrind.com. He was 47.

Yauch had been battling cancer of the salivary gland since 2009. He is survived by his wife Dechen, daughter Tenzin Losel, and parents Frances and Noel Yauch.

Yauch, the only child of a Catholic father and Jewish mother, and the rest of the Beasties played their first show in Midwood at Edward R. Murrow High School.

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"That’s so sad. I never got to see them. This is terrible," said Jeremy Hunt, a bartender at The Pacific Standard.

"Devastating. This is not just the death of a very high-quality human being, but the death of a very high-quality rap group. As of today, there is no more Beastie Boys. There will be no more shows. No reunions. No reality shows to fill the slot. No more videos," said Carroll Gardens resident Matt Rodbard.

"That's really sad. I'm so sorry to hear that," said Raven Perlotte, cashier at American Apparel on Court Street near the Atlantic Street intersection.

Yauch and friends Michael "Mike D" Diamond and Adam "Adrock" Horovitz originally formed the Beastie Boys as a hardcore punk band on Yauch's 17th birthday. They went on to sell over 40 million records including four #1 albums, one of which was their 1986 debut "Licensed to Ill" which was also the first hip hop album to top the Billboard 200.

The group was last month.

Under the name Nathanial Hörnblowér, Yauch also directed a number of the band's most memorable music videos including "So Whatcha Want," "Intergalactic," "Body Movin" and "Ch-Check It Out."

"They had some really great music. It's a shame that it's the end," said Devon Rogers, a construction worker at a job site on State Street near Clinton.

Yaya Dialo, a teen waiting in line outside the United Artists Court Street Stadium movie theater was touched by the news.

"Oh yeah, i heard Adam Yauch died. You know, I'm pretty young but even still the Beastie Boys are legendary in the hip hop world. I mean, so what if they were white? It doesnt matter. They had a huge influence. And you know, they just got inducted into the Hall of Fame and then this happens and it's really terrible. So rest in peace, MCA. Rest in Peace, man," he said.

Downtown Brookyn resident Daniella Rossalas-Friedman was walking along Atlantic near State street, "I grew up in Brooklyn and I grew up with the Beastie Boys and they are delightful. It's very sad to hear he's gone. He will be missed," she said.

"The Beastie Boys were one of the true pioneers of hip hop music," said Ian Young, 43. Ian grew up in the Bronx, is a DJ and now lives in Bed-Stuy. "Much respect to those dudes. Not only were they skilled, but they helped people outside of New York City to access hip hop culture and music. And it was because they were white… I don't know how else to say it. And it might not get said, but it's true."

The owners of Black Gold Records on Court Street took the loss personally.

"I don't think I'd be the 'troublemaker who never grew up' that I am today if it wasn't for the profound cultural influence Beastie Boys and MCA has had on my friends and me. It's sad to see your heroes go; the best we can do is respectfully 'Pass The Mic,'" said co-owner Jeff Ogiba

"'She's Crafty' was the name of my craft group in college. I'd like to always think he and the boys were rapping about me," said his partner Sommer X. Santoro.

Nikka Hodgeman, who was walking on Seventh Avenue in Park Slope, said she has been a fan of the Beastie Boys since their first album, "Licensed to Ill," and is very sad to hear that MCA has passed.

"This is a big loss—I don't think you can walk into a bar and 'Girls' comes on and not everyone is singing to it," Hodgeman said, who used to live in Carroll Gardens. "There's something to be said about that."

Hodgeman also said that when the song "An Open Letter to NYC" came out in 2004, she listened to that while she commuted to Staten Island everyday.

"They brought New Yorkers together with their lyrics, it came out a couple years after 9/11 and that song celebrates all the different neighborhoods and ethnicities in NYC coming together," Hodgeman said. "New York went through hell after the towers fell, and that song, that love letter to the city, spoke to me." 

Robert Myers contributed to this report.

kendelle May 04, 2012 at 07:41 PM
RIP MCA.......beasties boys music got me thru college...thank you
Joanna Prisco (Editor) May 04, 2012 at 08:19 PM
I hear you, Kendelle. I feel fortunate that I was able to see them perform live twice in my lifetime—first at Lollapalooza and then at The Tibetan Freedom Concert. They were a game-changing group and paved the way for many different acts we enjoy today.
Peter Rothberg May 04, 2012 at 08:26 PM
For me, losing a Beastie Boy is like what losing a Beatle was to my father's generation. Yauch was a visionary, a great musician, the group's conscience and most politicized member and possibly, the coolest guy in New York.
John May 04, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Screw cancer.
C. Zawadi Morris May 04, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Really nice guys and super talented!
Kyle sawyer May 05, 2012 at 03:35 AM
beastie boys was the first vinyl i bought my self rigt on flatbush and beverly its a liquor store now seam like the other day i was cuting up brass monkey rip mca
Walter Vega May 05, 2012 at 01:00 PM
A legend has been lost. MCA and the Beastie Boys were ahead of their time and transcended all musical genres. To call them hip hop or rap limits the scope of their work. MCA was a major part of stretching their music to create a sound we will never hear again.
spoons May 05, 2012 at 01:20 PM
Set the stage for 3rd bass vanilla ice eminem. R.I.P U will b missed
Dios Thunders May 06, 2012 at 06:13 PM
A very sad loss to the musical community and his family and friends. world wide. they united musical comunities together the hip hop from the Bronz the rappers and punk scene and rock and roll they were revolutionary how they pulled all that together inspired others like RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, KID ROCK and many other bands & performers They were so much fun they were brilliant they were OUR NY neighborhood boys..they were INTERGALLATIC! Adam will be missed and all he helped create, he is gone but never forgotten
Michelle May 07, 2012 at 02:56 PM
You will be missed! Def left too early!

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