John Berry, a founding member of the Beastie Boys who left the group before it found major label success, has died.
Berry died Thursday morning at a hospice in Danvers, Mass., following a long battle with frontotemporal dementia, according to his stepmother, Louise Berry, of Stamford, Conn. He had been in declining health and spent the last three to four years in medical facilities, she said.
Berry’s interest in music blossomed as a teen after he moved to New York City, his father, John Berry III, told the Associated Press.
Berry met future bandmate Michael Diamond at the Walden School in Manhattan.
Yauch paid tribute to Berry and those early practice sessions in a letter read at the group’s 2012 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Berry left the group shortly after playing guitar on its 1982 debut EP, “Polly Wog Stew.” As the band became a more professional outfit, Berry “Wasn’t up for that rigor,” according to his father.
Berry “Remained friendly” with Yauch and Diamond after leaving the group and continued to pursue his interests in music and art, his father said.