Adam Yauch, who was best known as The Beastie Boys rapper MCA, passed away earlier today at the age of 47, after a three-year battle with cancer. Here is part of the statement released by his publicist today.

"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. He was 47 years old."

In the early 1980s, Adam Yauch formed The Beastie Boys with Mike D (a.k.a. Michael Diamond) and Adam Horovitz (a.k.a. Adrock), one of the most influential rap groups in music history. The group sold over 40 million records worldwide, and their debut LP, "License to Ill," was the first rap album ever to crack the Billboard 200. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last month.

He also had a passion for filmmaking, directing most of the group's music videos under the alias "Nathanial Hornblower". He founded the film distribution company Oscilloscope Laboratories in 2008, and shepherded critically-acclaimed indies such as The Messenger, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Wendy and Lucy, Meek's Cutoff, Bellflower, and We Need to Talk About Kevin.

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Adam Yauch is survived by his wife and daughter.