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From 'Boy' to activist, filmmaker, and family man

A look at the legacy Adam Yauch left behind

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When he lost his three-year battle with cancer at 47 on May 4, Yauch, who is survived by his wife and young daughter, left behind a legacy far broader than the Beastie Boys’ raucous catalog. While it’s not unusual for a musician’s passing to garner condolences from other celebrities — stars like Justin Timberlake, Madonna, and Jimmy Fallon all paid tribute over the weekend — few also earn a public statement of gratitude from the Dalai Lama, as Yauch did. A convert to Buddhism in the early ’90s, the Brooklyn native (a.k.a. MCA) became an outspoken advocate for Tibetan independence, spearheading star-packed Tibetan Freedom concerts across the globe and creating the nonprofit Milarepa Fund. But he also stayed fervently involved in his second love after music: film. In addition to directing many memorable Beasties videos, like ”Intergalactic,” under the pseudonym Nathanial Hörnblowér he helped found Oscilloscope Laboratories, which distributed the acclaimed 2008 Michelle Williams drama Wendy and Lucy and Academy Award-nominated 2010 documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, among others. He was an example, wrote bandmate Mike D, of what ”determination, faith, focus, and humility coupled with a sense of humor can accomplish.”

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