Beastie Boys star Adam Yauch dies

Adam Yauch, the gravel-voiced Beastie Boys rapper who co-founded the American hip-hop group, has died, aged 47.

The announcement was made by hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, whose Def Jam label released the Beastie Boys' first album, Licensed to Ill.

The cause of death was not immediately known but Yauch, also known as MCA, was diagnosed with a cancerous parotid gland in 2009.

He had undergone surgery and radiation.

At the time, Yauch expressed hope it was "very treatable," but his illness caused the group to cancel shows and delayed the release of their 2011 album, Hot Sauce Committee, Part Two.

He had not performed in public since 2009 and was absent when the Beastie Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April.

Introducing the group at the Rock Hall, Public Enemy rapper Chuck D said the Beastie Boys "broke the mould".

"The Beastie Boys are indeed three bad brothers who made history," said Chuck D. "They brought a whole new look to rap and hip-hop. They proved that rap could come from any street - not just a few."

Yauch also went under the pseudonym Nathanial Hornblower when working as a filmmaker. He directed numerous videos for the group.

Yauch is survived by his wife, Dechen Wangdu, and his daughter, Tenzin Losel Yauch.