R.I.P. – Chi Cheng from the Deftones dies

Chi Cheng, the bassist with the Grammy award winning band the Deftones has died.

The 42-year-old bass guitarist has spent the past four years struggling to recover from the injuries he suffered in a massive car accident in November 2008.

Despite being in a coma since, he had recently displayed signs of improvement – however, he was taken to a Sacramento, California emergency room at 3 a.m. on Saturday and his heart stopped.

Chi Cheng dies

His death was confirmed by his family on his website, OneLoveForChi.com and his mother Jeanne Marie Cheng or ‘Mom J’ paid tribute to her son.

‘I know that you will always remember him as a giant of a man on stage with a heart for every one of you,’ said the statement.

‘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. He fought the good fight. You stood by him sending love daily.’

A candlelight vigil was planned for Chi Cheng at Sacramento’s Cesar Chavez Plaza on Sunday evening.

He and his band mates won a Best Metal Performance Grammy in 2001, was a ‘powerful bassist who was larger than life on stage,’ the Recording Academy, the industry organization that presents the Grammys, said in a statement Sunday.

‘Although the group’s early years were more heavy metal-based,” the statement read, ‘they were one of the first bands to incorporate a more alternative and ethereal sound into their thunderous and visceral music, blazing a trail that newer bands continue to follow today.’

Cheng was severely injured in a coma after the car he was driving with his sister collided with another car, causing the vehicle to roll.

He was not wearing a seat-belt and was launched from the car – his sister was wearing her belt and suffered only minor injuries.

In the years following his accident, Cheng’s progress was reported to be steady until his death on Saturday.

In 2009, it was revealed that he was no longer in a coma and in 2010, doctors said he was ‘showing signs of improved neuro-function’.

He had also recently recovered the ability to move his legs on command when doctors and his family requested.

Cheng was a co-founder of the popular Californian group in the late 1980s with Chino Moreno, Stephen Carpenter and Abe Cunningham.

He played on five of the nu-metal bands albums between 1994 and 2006 – with the band peaking in 2000 with their platinum selling album ‘White Pony’ – which hit number three on the Billboard 200.

Their eponymous follow-up in 2003, debuted at number two on the chart.

Deftones vocalist Chino Moreno wrote on his Facebook.com page, ‘Rest in peace Chi Cheng’, while Limp Bizkit singer Fred Durst posted on Twitter, ‘Rest in peace Chi. My most sincere prayers are with him and his family. Chi forever. Deftones forever.’

by Wallace McTavish


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