Chi Cheng, former bassist for Deftones, dies at 42

LAS VEGAS - NOVEMBER 11: Deftones bassist Chi Cheng performs during Xtreme Rock Radio's Holiday Havoc concert at the Thomas & Mack Center November 11, 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The band is touring in support of the new album, "Saturday Night Wrist." (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller

A candlelight vigil was planned Sunday in California for Chi Cheng, bassist for Grammy-winning rock band the Deftones, who died after struggling to recover from serious injuries suffered in a car crash more than four years ago.

Cheng, 42, was taken to an emergency room, where his heart stopped early Saturday, his mother, Jeanne Marie Cheng, wrote on the website, One Love for Chi, that had been set up to support him.

He and his band mates won a best metal performance Grammy in 2001, was a "powerful bassist who was larger than life on stage," the Recording Academy, the industry organization that presents the Grammys, said in a statement Sunday.

"Although the group's early years were more heavy metal-based," the statement read, "they were one of the first bands to incorporate a more alternative and ethereal sound into their thunderous and visceral music, blazing a trail that newer bands continue to follow today."

Cheng played on five albums with the band.

He was ejected from a car that collided head-on with another vehicle on Nov. 4, 2008.

Despite spending years comatose, he had recently shown some signs of improvement, said Cheng's hometown newspaper, The Sacramento Bee, which first reported his death.

The Recording Academy released a statement, noting that Cheng "was a powerful bassist who was larger than life on stage....The music industry has lost a proud and passionate performer all too soon, and our sincerest condolences go out to his family, his bandmates, and his fans worldwide who are mourning his untimely and unfortunate passing."

Others from the music industry also expressed their condolences.

Guitarist Tom Morello tweeted: "R.I.P Deftones Bassist Chi Cheng. Very sweet and talented guy. Head injury from car accident. Everyone please wear seatbelt and live."

Guitarist Slash tweeted: "Just heard that Chi from the Deftones passed away. That's really sad news. I didn't really know him. But he was an awesome bass player. RIP"