Chi Cheng, Deftones bassist, gone at 42

Categories: In Memoriam

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Many in music world are reeling this morning over the loss of Chi Cheng, the masterful Deftones bassist who passed away yesterday at the age of 42. Word of Cheng's passing was posted on OneLoveForChi.com, a site that was established shortly after a 2008 car accident that left him comatose and maintained over the years to keep fans updated on his condition and help raise funds for Cheng and his family. Keep reading for more on Cheng's life and his tragically premature death.

See also:
- Album Review: Deftones - Saturday Night Wrist
- Live Review: Deftones at the Fillmore Auditorium, 10/19/12
- Q&A With Chino Moreno of Team Sleep and Deftones

Cheng was taken to the emergency room yesterday morning, and while he was being treated, his heart simply stopped. "He left this world with me singing songs he liked in his ear," writes Mama J (aka Jeanne Marie Cheng) on OneLoveForChi.com. "He fought the good fight.You stood by him sending love daily. He knew that he was very loved and never alone."

Musically, Cheng was a passionate, influential player with a fierce playing style that also reflected an ability to lay down a subtle yet distinctive groove perhaps best heard on songs like "Change (In The House Of Flies)". Off stage, by all accounts, Cheng, a practicing Buddhist, was kind, thoughtful and compassionate person who championed a number of causes from PETA to WEAVE, and he dedicated both his time and money to working with homeless teens in his hometown of Sacramento.

Prior to joining the Deftones in 1988, Cheng was studying literature at Sacramento State College when he answered an ad Chino Moreno and company posted looking for a bass player. Cheng went on to play bass with the band on five Deftones albums, beginning with Adrenaline, the outfit's 1995 debut, and culminating with Saturday Night Wrist in 2006.

Despite the fact that the Deftones eventually soldiered on, enlisting good friend Sergio Vega of Quicksand to assume bass duties, Cheng was never far from his bandmates' minds as he endured to recover from his injuries. This past October when the Deftones performed at the Fillmore, the group requested a five dollar donation to the Chi Ling Cheng Special Needs Trust from media outlets in return for being credentialed for the show.

Cheng's passing is being mourned worldwide this morning by friends, family and members of the entire metal community, all of whom have been offering up condolences and tributes on Twitter (#RIPCHICHENG) since the news first broke yesterday. An impromptu candlelight vigil is being planned for this evening at 6:30 (PDT) at Cesar Chavez Park in Sacremento.

Continue on for the full statement from Mama J posted on OneLoveForChi.com and for a reaction from some of the metal community on Twitter



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6 comments
Lois Harvey
Lois Harvey

thanks for the acknowledgement of the life and death of a person who added value to this world.

Miri Ladenburger
Miri Ladenburger

Thank you for acknowledging Chi, Westword. It is a sad day for Deftones fans & family around the world! He was one of my favorite musicians and a one of a kind person. RIP Chi...Denver Deftones fans will never forget you!

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