Adam Yauch, a member of the hip-hop trio the Beastie Boys, died on May 4 after a three-year battle with cancer. In addition to being a rapper, Yauch was a dedicated Buddhist. Read Tricycle‘s 1994 interview with him here. In this guest blog post, Tricycle friend Ambika Cooper remembers Yauch, a childhood friend of hers.

A few days after I read the news about Adam Yauch I burst into tears as I stood at my kitchen sink thinking about his untimely passing. This came as a surprise since I haven’t seen him in person in maybe 30 years. We were friends when we were kids. We went to school together and used to have sleepovers at his house. I remember when the Beastie Boys started out but once they became famous I pretty much lost touch with Adam.

There has been a huge outpouring of love and support from his old friends in the past few days. It is really quite moving. Many old pics have been posted on Facebook and memories from that time have come flooding back to me. We forget so easily how connected we all are. I realize it often takes some kind of loss to bring people closer, for us to feel our commonality. It strips away some of our seeming separateness. So although I still feel quite sad I am also incredibly grateful to be connected to so many and to remember Adam and all the good he has done in his life.

Here is a favorite memory of Adam: We were maybe 14 years old or so and he had just gotten his first bass guitar. We were at his house and he was so excited he invited my friend and me up to his room to hear him play. He played one note and asked us to guess what the song was. We just looked at each other and then back at him not knowing quite what to say. I mean it was only one note. Then he played it again and when we still didn’t get it he said in all seriousness it was the beginning of the theme song for Barney Miller and then he started humming it: DUM dadadum dadadum dadadadadadadum. He did get it right.

Adam – I wish you a peaceful journey through the other realms.
May you be happy and peaceful.
May all beings be happy and peaceful.

—Ambika Cooper