DEFTONES bassist Chi Cheng died earlier today (Saturday, April 13) at the age of 42. The musician had been in a semi-comatose state for more than four years after being seriously injured in a car accident in November 2008. In addition to not recovering full consciousness, Cheng had been in and out of hospitals for various infections as his family has struggled with the mounting costs of care since he lost his health insurance a few months after the accident.
Cheng's mother has released the following statetement regarding 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 a.m. 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.com [charity web site made in dedication of his memory] 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)."
Cheng required surgery after the car accident to remove part of his brain, but his recovery was strong enough that he was taken off life support seven months later.
Over the course of the past couple of years, Cheng emerged from his coma for brief intervals. He was able to open his eyes and apparently could see and hear things going on around him, but could not respond verbally.
DEFTONES have held several benefit concerts and continued to donate money from the band's tours. Singer Chino Moreno said that the group's fans have continued to help as well. "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," he said. "That's what we pray and hope for, you know what I mean, that's all we can do."
Sergio Vega continues to play bass for the band. Vega stepped in for touring purposes after Cheng's accident, and stayed on to record 2010's "Diamond Eyes" and last year's "Koi No Yokan" with the group.