Adam Yauch, the gravel-voiced co-founder of the Beastie Boys, died on Friday after a three-year battle with cancer.
The 47-year-old, better known by his stage name MCA, died weeks after the pioneering white hip-hop act was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was too ill to attend the ceremony.
The three-member band cancelled a tour in 2009 after Yauch announced he had been diagnosed with cancer in a salivary gland. They have not appeared live since the summer of that year.
Tributes began pouring in even before his death was confirmed - on Twitter it became the top trending discussion topic, under the hashtag #RIPMCA.
"Another very sad day in hip-hop. #MCARIP," said the rapper Ice-T, adding: "I'm going Twitter silent today in honour of MCA. Rest in peace homie."
MC Hammer simply said: "RIP Adam Yauch Beastie Boys," while Boy George said: "Such sad news. A fellow Buddhist and part of hip-hop history!!"
"Crushed to hear the news of Adam Yauch's passing. A true pioneer of art," said Justin Timberlake, while Ben Stiller called him "a truly great musician & filmmaker".
Born in Brooklyn, Yauch taught himself to play bass in high school, forming a band for his 17th birthday party that would later become known the world over as Beastie Boys.
His cancer treatment delayed the release of the group's most recent album, Hot Sauce Committee, Pt 2, which was already tipped to do well and could debut at the top of the Billboard chart after Yauch's death, CNN reported. * AFP
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