John Berry, a founding member of the controversial hip-hop group The Beastie Boys, has died. Berry’s death came following years of declining health.
Berry suffered from frontotemporal dementia, according to his father. The disease causes the brain to shrink, lead to changes in Berry’s personality and behavior. The disorder caused the performer to experience difficulty in processing language and speech before he passed away.
The Beastie Boys began as a punk rock group in 1980. Berry played on the group’s first EP in 1982, “Polly Wog Stew,” before departing the band. The Beastie Boys made a change in pace, recording their first hip-hop album, “Licensed to Ill,” in 1986. The group, a trio of white men, became a mainstay in the hip-hop community during a time where the genre was dominated by African-Americans. The Beastie Boys were known for their hit songs “(You Gotta) Fight for the Right (To Party),”Brass Monkey,” and “No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn.”
The Beastie Boys disbanded in 2012, following the death of fellow founding member Adam “MCA” Yauch. Yauch died in May 2012 after several years of unsuccessful cancer treatments.