Chi passed away on in April 2013 following complications from a 2008 car accident that left him in a semi-comatose state. He was 42.
According to The Pulse Of Radio, Cheng was riding in a car driven by his sister Mae that flipped three times after a collision with another vehicle on a road in Santa Clara, California. Cheng was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the car.
He underwent surgery to remove part of his brain after the accident, although he was strong enough to come off life support seven months later.
Although Cheng never recovered full consciousness after his accident, he was gradually able to emerge for brief periods of time from his coma and see and hear things happening around him, although he could not respond verbally.
Cheng was also in and out of hospitals for various infections over the last four years of his life, as his family struggled with mounting medical bills. Cheng was dropped by his insurance company just months after his accident.
DEFTONES and other acts held benefit concerts to raise money for Cheng‘s medical bills, and DEFTONES continued to donate money from the band’s own tours as well.
Cheng performed on DEFTONES‘ first five albums, with his last released work being on 2006’s “Saturday Night Wrist”.
Sergio Vega stepped in to play for the band on tour after Cheng‘s accident, staying on to record 2010’s “Diamond Eyes”, 2012’s “Koi No Yokan”, 2016’s “Gore” and 2020’s “Ohms”.
The last record that Cheng worked on, an abandoned project called “Eros”, remains unreleased.
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— Buckle Up For Chi (@Buckleupforchi) December 12, 2020