(NEW YORK) -- Adam Yauch, rapper in the influential rap group the Beastie Boys, died on May 4, ABC News has confirmed. He was 47.
Yauch, aka MCA, announced he had a cancerous parotid gland and lymph node in 2009. Although he underwent surgery and radiation, it is unknown if his death is a result of his illness.
Yauch was a founding member of the Beastie Boys along with Michael "Mike D" Diamond, Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz and Michael "DJ Mix Master Mike" Schwartz.
The Beastie Boys began their career in 1979 as a hardcore punk band and made the transition to hip hop in 1986 with their debut album, Licensed to Ill. The band went on to record seven more albums, including Paul's Boutique, Check Your Head, Ill Communication, Hello Nasty, To the 5 Boroughs, The Mix-Up and their most recent album, last year’s Hot Sauce Committee Part Two.
The band has racked up a number of Grammy Awards and was even inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last month along with Red Hot Chili Peppers and Guns N’ Roses. While Diamond and Horovitz attended the event, which is set to air on HBO on Saturday, May 5 at 9 PM ET, Yauch was absent at the induction ceremony taped earlier this year, an absence rumored to have been prompted by his illness. The two read an emotional letter on behalf of Yauch.
Yauch is survived by his wife, Dechen Wangdu, and daughter Tenzin Losel Yauch.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio