The Beastie Boys’ member Adam Yauch, known by his stage name of MCA, had been fighting the good fight against salivary gland cancer for several years. He had all but dropped out of public view and stopped performing with the hip-hop/rock trio he launched in the ‘80s as he dealt with his illness.

To the shock and devastation to fans and loved ones, MCA died on May 4, 2012, at the age of 47. The Beastie Boy left behind a daughter, a wife, two very distraught bandmates (AdRock and Mike D.) and a legion of mourning fans.

Yauch enjoyed a public transformation during his career. Who knew that a beer-swilling, white rapper with a penchant for hilarious pop culture references in his lyrics and bratty behavior would go on to find spiritual enlightenment, stage Tibetan Freedom concerts and hob knob with the Dalai Lama?

In essence, MCA grew up, but never lost his love for tossing off rhymes about ‘70s TV shows and Brooklyn landmarks. The Beastie Boys were pioneers, as evidenced by their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction weeks prior to Yauch's death. He paved the way and his raspy raps will be missed.