John Berry, one of the original members of the Beastie Boys, died Thursday morning in hospice care in Massachusetts. He was 52.
John Berry III confirmed his son's death to Rolling Stone. Berry’s father told the magazine that Berry was suffering from frontal lobe dementia that had worsened in the last few months.
His stepmother, Louise Berry, tells The Associated Press that Berry died Thursday morning at a hospice in Danvers, Mass. She says Berry had been in declining health for several years.
Berry helped found the Beastie Boys in the early 1980s after meeting future bandmate Mike Diamond at the Walden School in New York. He played guitar on the bands first EP with fellow members Diamond, Adam Yauch and Kate Schellenbach. Berry is credited with coming up with the name for what was then a hardcore punk group.
His father says Berry left the group in 1982 because the band was becoming more professional and Berry "wasn't up for that rigor." Schellenbach departed the following year.
Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz replaced both members, and the Beastie Boys went on to musical fame as a hip-hop trio.
When the Beastie Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, Yauch dedicated the honor in a speech read by Horovitz "to John Berry [and] to John Berry’s loft on 100th Street and Broadway, where John’s dad would come busting in during our first practices screaming, ‘Would you turn that f---ing s--- off already?'"
Yauch died of cancer later that year at age 47.
Rolling Stone reported that Berry was in several other bands over the course of his music career, including Even Worse, Big Fat Love, Highway Stars and Bourbon Deluxe.