A number of celebrities have taken to twitter to pay tribute to Adam Yauch.

The Beastie Boys co-founder - also known as MCA - passed away this morning (04.05.12) after battling cancer in his parotid gland and a lymph node since 2009, and Justin Timberlake is just one of a number of celebrities who took to twitter to pay tribute to him.

He wrote: ''Crushed to hear the news of Adam Yauch's passing. A true pioneer of art. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones.#RIPMCA (sic)''.

The Black Eye Peas' will.i.am wrote: ''1 of my favorite hiphop groups...hiphop raised a lot of us & now we have to wake up because are hero's are dying too young (sic).''

Run Dmc'S Reverend Run was equally distraught, writing ''R I P Adam... I'm devastated. Praying for Adam Yauch's family from the legendary Beastie Boys. Youll be missed!'' while Snoop Dogg tweeted: ''RIP MCA U are a Legend and a pioneer. #BeastieBoys4life (sic).''

The Beastie Boys - which also comprises Michael Diamond (Mike D) and Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock) - have not performed live since the summer of 2009, and the rapper's illness prevented the group from appearing in music videos for their album 'Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2'.

Adam is survived by his wife, Dechen Wengdu, and their daughter, Losel.