Chi Cheng, bassist for the seminal alternative metal band Deftones, has died at the age of 42.
His family have confirmed that Cheng passed on early on Saturday morning, with news reaching music blogs and social media channels on Sunday.
A statement was posted on the website OneLoveForChi.com, set up to help fund treatment and care for the popular alternative musician following a major car accident in 2008 which sent him into a coma. The release reads:
“This is the hardest thing to write to you. Your love and heart and devotion to Chi was unconditional and amazing. I know that you will always remember him as a giant of a man on stage with a heart for every one of you. 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. He knew that he was very loved and never alone.”
As well as providing a solid foundation to Deftones’ hugely influential, guitar-driven sound, Cheng was a spoken word poet and author of a collection of poetry entitled The Bamboo Chronicles. The collection was released as a spoken word album in 2000.
Joining Deftones in 1988 following a number of trials and auditions from other bassists, Cheng appeared on the group’s very first recorded demo EP. As well as holding down the low end, he became the group’s principal backing vocalist supporting front man Chino Moreno on stage and in the studio. Cheng was also a GRAMMY winner, picking up the 2001 award for Best Metal Performance, playing on the band’s first five best-selling albums Adrenaline, Around The Fur, White Pony, Deftones and Saturday Night Wrist. The first three of which all secured platinum selling status, such was the band’s impact and success.
Chino Moreno took to his Facebook page to confirm the passing of his friend and colleague with the message “rest in peace Chi Cheng”.
Recent reports had suggested Cheng’s condition had been improving, with suggestions the bassist had been in a semi-conscious state. In 2010 doctors stated that the late musician was “showing signs of improved neuro function” and had regained some limited ability to move his legs on command.
Chi Cheng is survived by his son Gabriel.
Watch Cheng in action alongside his band mates performing Back To School on the Conan O’Brien Show back in 2001: