John Berry, Beastie Boys Founding Member, Dies at 52

Musician performed on group’s debut EP

John Berry, a founding member of the Beastie Boys who is credited with concocting the group’s name, died Thursday morning at a Danvers, Massachusetts, hospice, Rolling Stone reports. He was 52.

Berry’s father, John Berry III, said that his son had suffered from a worsening case of frontal lobe dementia.

Berry played with the group in its formative years in the early ’80s. At the time, the group consisted of Mike Diamond, Adam Yauch and Kate Schellenbach. Berry appeared on the group’s 1982 debut EP “Polly Wog Stew” but left the group soon after, as did Schellenbach. Adam Horowitz (nom de Beastie: Ad-Rock) came aboard to fill the gap left by the departing members.

Berry would go on to perform in groups including Even Worse, Big Fat Love, Highway Stars and Bourbon Deluxe.

During the Beastie Boys’ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2012, the group acknowledged Berry’s impact, with Horowitz reading a letter from Yauch — who would soon after lose a battle with cancer — in which Yauch touted Berry’s influence.

Watch the tribute below.

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