Yauch, who was diagnosed with cancer in July 2009, passed away today at 47.
Formed as a hardcore punk group in 1979, Beastie Boys transitioned to hip-hop after experimenting with the genre in the track 'Cooky Puss'.
Yauch, along with Michael Diamond (Mike D) and Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock), became one of music's most influential and exciting hip-hop groups, recording eight albums together and winning three Grammy awards throughout a career that spans more than 30 years.
In honour of Yauch and the Beastie Boys, Digital Spy looks back on five of their best music videos and songs.
Album: Hello Nasty
Charted: #5 (UK)/ #28 (UK)
The Grammy-winning song was released as the first single off their fifth album, Hello Nasty. The boys took their rapping prowess to Japan in a music video that features a battle between a giant robot and a giant sea creature, a parody of Japanese Kaiju films. With the lyrics, 'If you want to battle, you're in denial', the premise of the video also takes on another meaning that reflects the rap battles that go on in the hip-hop community.
2. '(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)'
Album: Licensed to Ill
Charted: #11 (UK) / #7 (US)
The single became one of the Beastie Boys' most famous songs and it accompanied a music video that well reflected the song's bold declaration. What starts out as a small mellow party soon becomes a party to be remembered, after it is crashed by the Beastie Boys and their posse with cameos from LL Cool J and producer Rick Rubin. Although the group have not performed the song since 1987, it went on to be sampled and covered by other artists including Public Enemy, Blondie and Ke$ha.
3. 'No Sleep Til Brooklyn'
Album: Licensed to Ill
Charted: #14 (UK)/ - (US)
Beastie Boys continued the Licensed to Ill party in their sixth single 'No Sleep Til Brooklyn'. Slayer guitarist Kerry King contributed to the song with the guitar riffs and solo as the trio boast about their job that includes them "going coast to coast to watch all their girlies shaking". In 2009, Brooklyn-bred rapper Jay-Z covered the track at All Points West Festival.
Album: ll Communication
Charted: #19 (UK)/ #15 (US)
Beastie Boys parody another entertainment genre for their music video of 'Sabotage'. Directed by Spike Jonze, the music video is presented as the opening credits of the trio's fictional 1970s cop drama of the same name with Yauch, Diamond and Horovitz dressed as police officers. Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle referenced the video as the influence behind the opening credits of his 1996 film Trainspotting.
5. 'Ch-check It Out'
Album: To the 5 Boroughs
Charted: #8 (UK)/ #1 (US)
Beastie Boys made history with the release of 'Ch-check It Out', the first single off To the 5 Boroughs. Although the track was nominated for a Grammy in the 'Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group' category, the song was a huge success in the modern rock genre, proving that they still haven't shaken off their hardcore punk rock gene. 'Ch-check It Out' became the group's first song to reach number one on the US Billboard Modern Rock Track charts.