Founding Beastie Boys member John Berry died at a hospice in Danvers, Massachusetts, Thursday morning, his stepmother, Louise Berry, told the Associated Press Friday. He was 52.
Berry’s health had been on the decline for several years. He suffered from frontal lobe dementia, which had progressed in the past few months, Rolling Stone reported.
Berry helped create the Beastie Boys in the 1980s. He met future bandmate Mike Diamond at Walden School in New York. Adam Yauch and Kate Schellenbach joined Berry and Diamond in July 1981. Adam Horovitz ultimately replaced both of them.
Berry is credited with coming up with the band’s name.
The musicians would practice and perform shows at Berry’s loft in Manhattan, his father, John Berry III, told the AP.
The guitarist left the band after the Beastie Boys released their first EP, “Polly Wog Stew.” The group was picking up steam and Berry “wasn’t up for that kind of rigor,” his father said. Schellenbach left in 1983 following Berry’s exit.
He’s not the only founding member of the Beastie Boys to have died. Yauch, 47, died in 2012 after a battle with cancer.
That same year, they became the third rap group to be inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. At the ceremony, Horovitz read an acceptance speech written by Yauch that referenced Berry’s influence.
A public memorial will be held for Berry in the fall.
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