Died May 4, 2012. Born August 5, 1964.
Founding member of hip hop trio the Beastie Boys. He was frequently known by his stage name, MCA.
Under the pseudonym "Nathanial Hörnblowér", Yauch directed many of the Beastie Boys' music videos. Yauch made his televised debut as Hörnblowér at the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards as he stormed the stage in costume to protest after R.E.M. won the award for Best Direction over the Spike Jonze-directed Beastie Boys video "Sabotage". He also directed the 2006 Beastie Boys concert film, Awesome; I Fuckin' Shot That!, although in the DVD extras for the film, the title character in "A Day in the Life of Nathanial Hörnblowér" is played by David Cross. He also directed the 2008 film Gunnin' For That #1 Spot about eight high school basketball prospects at the Boost Mobile Elite 24 Hoops Classic at Rucker Park in Harlem, New York City. In 2002, Yauch built a recording studio in NYC called Oscilloscope Laboratories and produced Build a Nation, the comeback album from hardcore/punk band Bad Brains. Oscilloscope Laboratories also distributed Adam Yauch's directorial film debut, basketball documentary Gunnin' For That #1 Spot (2008) as well as Kelly Reichardt's Wendy and Lucy (2008) and Oren Moverman’s The Messenger (2009).
The Beastie Boys had sold 40 million records worldwide by 2010. In 2012, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Yauch was inducted in absentia due to his illness, with his bandmates paying him warm tribute from the stage; a letter from Yauch was read to the crowd. Fellow inductees the Red Hot Chili Peppers dedicated their live performance to Yauch.
In 2011, Yauch received the Charles Flint Kellogg Award in Arts and Letters from Bard College, the college he attended for two years. The award is "given in recognition of a significant contribution to the American artistic or literary heritage."
Yauch was a practicing Buddhist. He became an important voice in the Tibetan independence movement. He created the Milarepa Fund, a non-profit organization devoted to Tibetan independence, and organized several benefit concerts to support the cause.
In 2009, Yauch was diagnosed and treated for a cancerous parotid gland and a lymph node and underwent surgery and radiation therapy delaying the release of Hot Sauce Committee Part Two and the subsequent tour. He was unable to appear in music videos for the album. Yauch became a vegan under the recommendation of his Tibetan doctors.
He and his wife, Dechen, had a daughter, Tenzin Losel, in 1998. Yauch died at age 47 on May 4, 2012.