Chi Cheng a 'Poetic Spirit': Members of System of a Down, P.O.D., Korn Remember Late Deftones Bassist
The hard rock and metal community reacted to the death of Deftones bassist Chi Cheng over the weekend.
Cheng passed away at the age of 42 after being in a semi-conscious state since a November, 2008 auto accident which had initially left him comatose. Despite showing signs of improvement at times over the years, Cheng's mother reported in an online post at OneLoveForChi.com that her son had passed away early Saturday morning after his heart stopped.
Deftones relationships in the metal community run deep. Brian "Head" Welch and Reggie "Fieldy" Arvizu from Korn as well as Sonny Sandoval from P.O.D. were particularly active in raising awareness and funds Chi's medical care, as was Deftones themselves, who have since released two albums with Quicksand's Sergio Vega standing-in on bass. Members of Metallica, Slipknot, Korn, Sevendust and other metal bands contributed the "A Song for Chi" benefit track organized by Arvizu.
Sandoval told Billboard he had spoken with Chi's family on Saturday. "I'm gonna share with everyone the day me and Sonny went to visit Chi to honor him in 2009," Welch told Billboard, detailing exactly that in his monthly column for Loudwire.com.
"It didn't turn out the way we had hoped, but I trust 100 percent that Chi has entered into a real and tangible place that has no more tears and no more pain or suffering," Welch's column concludes. "I truly believe he has entered the realm of Divine love where there is no such thing as death and decay, and we will be with him again one day. R.I.P. our brother Chi."
System Of A Down vocalist and solo artist Serj Tankian shared his thoughts in an email to Billboard. "Chi was this amazing calmness and poetic spirit who inspired us all with his presence, words and music. I'm gonna miss him."
Nickelback, Godsmack, Shinedown, Lamb Of God, Saving Abel, Trapt, Testament, In Flames, Machine Head, Living Sacrifice and Hatebreed were among the bands who took their official Twitter accounts to express their condolences. "So incredibly heartbreaking to hear the news of Chi's passing. My thoughts are with his family, and all of you," tweeted former My Chemical Romance singer Gerard Way. Rage Against The Machine's Tom Morello, Sebastian Bach and Slash tweeted similar sentiments.
"My friend Chi passed away," Slipknot/Stone Sour singer Corey Taylor remarked on Saturday. "My heart goes out to his family, and to my friends in Deftones. This is indeed a sad day..." Papa Roach Tweeted: "RIP CHI... WE LOVE YOU MAN!"
"RIP Chi Cheng of Deftones, you harbored a sweet brilliance, and will be remembered and loved," wrote Disturbed frontman David Draiman; Disturbed guitarist Dan Donegan Tweeted: "Another sad day in music with the loss of Deftones Chi. R.I.P."
Cheng was thrown from the vehicle he was in with his sister when they collided with another car in Santa Clara, California. His sister sustained only minor injuries, but Chi was reportedly not wearing his seatbelt. "Very sweet and talented guy. Head injury from car accident," Morello wrote in his tweet on Sunday. "Everyone please wear a seatbelt and live."
On Saturday, Deftones frontman Chino Moreno wrote on his official Facebook page, "Rest in peace Chi Cheng." Graham Martin, Deftones longtime manager at Velvet Hammer, told Billboard the band is prepping an official statement.