R.I.P. Chi Cheng

On November 4, 2008, along a highway in California, a terrible tragedy unfolded. Chi Cheng, bassist and founding member of the Deftones, was ejected from the vehicle he was riding in as his sister, Mae, tried to pass another driver going 60 MPH. Their car flipped three times. Chi wasn’t wearing his seat belt. Since that day he’s been in a semi-vegetative state. His band mates and contemporaries put on concerts to raise funds for his healthcare. His family tried and explored many experimental medical procedures. Yesterday at 3 am, the fight was over. Chi was rushed to the hospital and his heart stopped. He was 42.

Growing up in Southern California around the time the Deftones blew up it was hard to escape them. Any local band worth a shit had covered one of their songs. At one point it just became too much. There was a couple years where I just didn’t want to hear them. I was able to see them at Ozzfest ’99, the only time I was able to catch Chi play live. They were good, but I still was in a “I’ve had enough of these guys” phase. Then they released White Pony. It was such a great album. I even learned to play a few songs on the guitar, though I was never very good at it. The only other time I got to see the Deftones was almost 2 years after Chi’s accident. They came to Medford and played a small show. It was so fucking awesome being in a much smaller venue. Chi may not have been their physically that night, but the crowd had all the love in the world for him. His energy was definitely floating around the concert hall.

His mother posted this note on the website after 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 [sic] 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)”

I personally hope that the guys in Deftones decide to release the Eros album they had been working on with Chi. It would be such a beautiful and poignant tribute to their fallen friend. The last recordings of Chi for all the world to hear. Rest easy Chi. You will live forever through your music.

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