Ex-Beastie Boys guitarist John Berry dies aged 52

Founding member suffered from frontal lobe dementia

John Berry, a founding member of the Beastie Boys, has passed away.

He died on Thursday morning (May 19) at a hospice in Danvers, Massachusetts, at the age of 52. Berry’s father confirmed his death to Rolling Stone and said that his son had suffered from frontal lobe dementia, which worsened during his last months.

Berry (pictured above, second from right) served as guitarist in the hip-hop group from 1981-82. He played on their first seven-inch EP Polly Wog Stew’, released in July 1982. Berry is also credited with naming the band.

Prior to Beastie Boys, Berry was in a band called the Young Aborigines with Mike D and Kate Schellenbach (who also served in Beastie Boys from 1981–1984).

Berry also played in a number of other bands, including Even Worse, Big Fat Love, Highway Stars and Bourbon Deluxe.

Beastie Boys made reference to Berry when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.