Billboard reports that Chi Cheng, bassist and founding member of Deftones, died this morning. He was 42 years old. Cheng had been in a semi-conscious state since 2008, when he was injured in a car accident.
Cheng co-founded Deftones in 1988 in Sacramento, with Chino Moreno, Stephen Carpenter and Abe Cunningham. He performed with the band on their first five albums — 1995’s Adrenaline, 1997’s Around the Fur, 2000’s The White Pony, 2003’s Deftones and 2006’s Saturday Night Wrist. The group was working on a new album tentatively titled Eros, but in 2008, when he suffered injuries from the accident, the project was put on hold. The group’s next two albums — 2010’s Diamond Eyes and 2012’s Koi No Yokan, featured Quicksand bassist Sergio Vega.
Cheng cited influences as far ranging as metal legends like Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath to punk icons such as Bad Brains. His basslines were often written based on notes he heard in his sleep, which he’d write down on a notepad he kept handy.
His family released a statement following his passing:
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)
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.