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People Top 5
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- May 21, 2012
- Vol. 77
- No. 21
The Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch: 1964-2012
He Fought for the Right to Party-and Then for a Free Tibet-But the Rap Icon Lost His Battle with Cancer
Things are, sadly, quieter now. On May 4 Yauch (a.k.a. MCA), 47, lost his nearly three-year battle with cancer of the salivary gland. As the news spread, fellow artists paid tribute to the Grammy winner, whose music-including the group's debut License to Ill and its instant classic "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!)"-helped break down racial barriers in the hip-hop world. "That white guy, MCA, did stuff that rappers today will never do," says rapper pal DMC.
In later years Yauch's life contrasted with his group's hard-partying image-that bluster, he'd said, was "a joke that just went too far." After turning to Buddhism, he cofounded the Milarepa Fund and raised awareness of Tibetan issues. He also ran the film company Oscilloscope Laboratories and was devoted to his wife, Dechen, 38, and daughter Tenzin Losel, 13. After Yauch's death, Diamond praised his pal's faith, humor and humility: "The world is in need of many more like him."
- With Marisa Laudadio,
- Le Datta Grimes.
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