Deftones Bassist Chi Cheng Dies at Age 42

Deftones bassist Chi Cheng died early Saturday morning at the age of 42.

Cheng suffered major injuries and was left in a coma following a November 2008 car crash in Santa Clara, Calif. The bassist was driving with his sister Mae when they collided with another car, sending his vehicle rolling. He was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle.

Although Cheng eventually began to show signs of improvement and was reported to be in a partially conscious state, he was never able to fully recovery.

“I know that you will always remember him as a giant of a man on stage with a heart for every one of you,” wrote Cheng’s mother Jeanne Marie Cheng on the One Love for Chi website. “He was taken to the emergency room and at 3 am today his heart just suddenly stopped. He left this world with me singing songs he liked in his ear.”

Cheng along with Chino Moreno, Stephen Carpenter and Abe Cunningham formed the Deftones in Sacramento in 1988. He was an integral part of the nu-metal band’s success, performing on their first five albums, released between 1994 and 2006. The group enjoyed wide-spread commercial success in 2000 with the platinum-selling White Pony, which peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and featured the hit “Change (In the House of Flies).”

Following the accident, the One Love for Chi site was set up to offer updates on his condition and collect donations. Deftones, who have continued on with bassist Sergio Vega, also performed two benefit shows in 2009 to help raise money to offset Cheng’s mounting medical costs.

“He fought the good fight,” his mother wrote on the site.

Born Chi Ling Dai Cheng on August 15, 1970 in Davis, California, Cheng leaves behind a son, Gabriel.

A candlelight vigil in honor of Cheng is being planned for 6:30 p.m. Sunday night at Cesar Chavez Plaza in Sacramento.


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