Founding member of Beastie Boys found dead at 52
John Berry, a founding member of iconic hip-hop group the Beastie Boys, died on Thursday in Massachusetts, Rolling Stone magazine reported. He was 52.
Berry's father told the magazine that his son suffered from frontal lobe dementia, which had recently worsened.
Berry came up with the Beastie Boys name and was one of the group's first members when it formed in 1981, the magazine said.
The band was formed in 1978 as The Young Aborigines with Mike Diamond as vocalist, Adam Yauch as Bassist and Kate Schellenbachy on the drums.
He played guitar on the band's first seven-inch EP, "Polly Wog Stew," recorded in 1982, but left shortly after, before the group moved from punk to hip hop music.
Shellenback also left and Adam Horowitz then joined before they released eight studio albums and won three Grammys.
The line-up remained with Yauch, Diamond and Horowitz until 2012 when Yauch died of cancer at the age of 47.
Berry was a member of several less well-known bands after he left including Big Fat Love, Even Worse, Highway Stars, and Bourbon Deluxe.