A torrent of Twitter messages from entertainers lauded Yauch, 47, as a visionary musical artist, filmmaker and humanitarian.
"He stood for integrity as an artist. What a loss. He was a very good man," said actor Ben Stiller.
Yauch revealed in 2009 that he had a cancerous tumor in a salivary gland. As a result, the band canceled its scheduled concerts and delayed the release of an album.
"I started feeling this little lump in my throat, like you would feel if you have swollen glands or something like that, like you'd feel if you have a cold, so I didn't really think it was anything," he said then in a video to fans.
Yauch, a self-taught bassist and vocalist, underwent surgery to treat the tumor that year.
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