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NEW YORK -- Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons says Adam Yauch, the gravelly voiced Beastie Boys rapper who co-founded the seminal hip-hop group, has died at age 47.

Calls and emails to representatives for the Beastie Boys were not immediately returned. Simmons' Def Jam label released the Beastie Boys' first album, "Licensed to Ill."

The cause of death wasn't immediately known. Yauch, who's 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, Pt. 2."

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

The Rock Hall Induction Ceremonyairs on HBO this Saturday at 9 p.m.

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