Adam Yauch, better known to music fans as MCA of the legendary hip hop triumvirate Beastie Boys, passed away today at the age of 47 following a battle with cancer.

Russell Simmons' Global Grind confirmed the tragic news this afternoon.

In 2009 Yauch announced that he was being treated for a cancerous tumor in his salivary gland. In 2011, Yauch posted an update on the Beastie Boys' website telling friends and fans he was not cancer-free as reported, but was "staying optimistic and hoping to be cancer free in the near future."

Yauch was absent at the Beastie Boys' Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction last month, but the band's official statement did not reveal why.

He is survived by wife Dechen Wangdu and their daughter Tenzin Losel Yauch.

Update: The Beastie Boys' publicity agency has released an obituary for Yauch on its website:

It is with great sadness that we confirm that musician, rapper, activist and director Adam "MCA" Yauch, founding member of Beastie Boys and also of the Milarepa Foundation that produced the Tibetan Freedom Concert benefits, and film production and distribution company Oscilloscope Laboratories, passed away in his native New York City this morning after a near-three-year battle with cancer.

Go read the entire thing here.

[photo via AP]