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Beastie Boys Member and Oscilloscope Founder Adam Yauch Dies

4 May, 2012 By: Billy Gil

Adam Yauch, one of the three members of groundbreaking hip-hop group the Beastie Boys and co-founder of independent distributor Oscilloscope Laboratories, has died at age 47.

The time and cause of death were not immediately known. Yauch was diagnosed with a cancerous parotid gland in 2009.

Oscilloscope May 3 had announced co-founder David Fenkel would step aside as president and would remain involved with the running of the company, with Dan Berger and David Laub promoted from marketing, distribution and acquisition roles to run the company. May 4 a spokeswoman told The Wrap that decision would be reversed.

“Given today’s events, David Fenkel will remain intimately involved with the company for the foreseeable future,” she said.

Fenkel, Berger and Laub together released the following statement:

“We are deeply, deeply saddened by passing of Adam Yauch, an amazing leader, a dear friend and an incredible human being. Today we are heartbroken at Oscilloscope as we take in this awful news. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.

“Adam’s legacy will remain a driving force at Oscilloscope — his indomitable spirit and his great passion for film, people and hard work — always with a sense of humor and a lot of heart.”

As a member of the Beastie Boys, formed in 1979, Yauch, also known as MCA, helped pioneer the sound of hip-hop and bring it to the masses. The band released such landmark albums as Paul's Boutique, Check Your Head, Ill Communication and Hello Nasty.

Yauch built Oscilloscope Laboratories in New York in 2002 as a recording studio and began distributing films on DVD in 2008, beginning with his directorial debut, the basketball documentary Gunnin’ for that #1 Spot. Oscilloscope has released 50 films, notable for their critical acclaim as well as recyclable packaging, with such films as Wendy and Lucy, The Messenger, Howl, Meek’s Cutoff, Exit Through the Gift Shop and We Need to Talk About Kevin.

In 2009 Yauch spoke with Home Media Magazine about Oscilloscope, explaining the independent mindset of the distributor and what went into choosing the films and creating their packaging.

“It’s very much a matter of taste, seeing films and picking ones we really like,” he said. “We’re not looking to pick up films [just] to make money off of them. We want to build a library of stuff that we feel good about.”

Yauch is survived by his wife and daughter.


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