Chi Cheng, the 42-year old bassist of Deftones, passed away Saturday, April 13. Cheng was under constant medical care since 2008, when he was seriously injured in a car accident. His situation had improved as of February 2012, when he was in a partially conscious state, but was only able to move certain portions of his body. He never fully regained speech or full command of his body. A candlelight vigil will be held in Sacramento’s Cesar Chavez Park Sunday night, April 14 at 6:30 P.M. Here’s what you should know about Chi Cheng’s passing.
1. He Was a Key Member of the Wildly Successful Band Until His Tragic Accident
Cheng has been a member of the Deftones since 1988, and he was able to watch the band rise to multi-platinum status. Saturday Night Wrist was his final album with the band in 2006. Cheng was in a semi-comatose state for more than four years after being seriously injured in a car accident in November of 2008. Cheng was traveling with Mae, his sister, when his car collided with another vehicle traveling 60 mph and rolled three times. Chi was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the car. Cheng never recovered full consciousness, and had been in and out of hospitals for different infections.
2. Cheng Underwent Surgery to Remove Part of His Brain
Cheng required surgery after the car accident to remove part of his brain. Seven months later, he was taken off life support. Over the last few years, Cheng emerged from his coma but only for brief intervals. He could only hear and see what was going on around him and couldn’t respond.
3. Cheng’s Heart Suddenly Stopped
Cheng died at 3 a.m. in the hospital. According to a statement released by Cheng’s family, Cheng was taken to an emergency room early Saturday morning when they found out “his heart just suddenly stopped”:
“Our dearest Family,
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 emegency 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. I will write more later. I will be going through the oneloveforchi and any other information may not be reliable. If you have any stories or messages to share please send them to the onelove site. Please hold Mae and Ming and the siblings and especially Chi’s son, Gabriel in your prayers. It is so hard to let go.
With great love and “Much Respect!” Mom J (and Chi)”
Read more at oneloveforchi.
4. Deftones and Other Groups Held Many Benefit Concerts for Cheng
After Cheng’s tragic accident, the outpouring of support from the musical community was immense. The Deftones and other musical groups held several benefit concerts to help his family with the mounting medical costs. Deftones singer Chino Moreno said their fans have helped out as well. Moreno said:
Whatever people can do, it’s all appreciated, and it’s all just in the hopes that there will be one day where he can talk back and have a conversation and see his kids and, you know, continue on living, you know. That’s what we pray and hope for, you know what I mean, that’s all we can do.
5.Sergio Vega Will Continue to Play Bass for the Band
Quicksand bassist Sergio Vega has been Cheng’s replacement in the Deftones since the accident. Vega helped out in the recording of the albums Diamond Eyes and Koi No Yokan.