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They left us with memories, and much more

Today The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento newspaper) (link) wrote an article about the various people in Sacramento who have left us this year. In addition to writing about Chi, also mentioned Eppie Johnson, Jose Montoya and Cal Worthington. Below the part about Our bass player.

The Sacramento Bee

Chi Cheng

Bassist for Deftones, 42, died April 13

The condolences came from across the globe and among the utmost in rock star royalty. That’s to say no Sacramento rock musician has been mourned quite like Chi Cheng.

Cheng was renowned internationally as the bassist for Deftones, the Sacramento homeboys-done-good who can count platinum albums and a Grammy Award among their credits. But the past five years had been harrowing for its fans, and especially for Cheng’s large extended family. Cheng was seriously injured in a 2008 car accident and spent the rest of his life in a semi-conscious state.

His colleagues in headbanging, meanwhile, raised money for Cheng’s mounting medical bills. A two-day benefit concert in 2009 in Hollywood included members of Metallica, Motley Crue, Linkin Park, Slayer and System of a Down. Deftones donated $1 per ticket during a 2010 tour to Cheng’s cause.

But Cheng wasn’t simply beloved for his rock star status. In a world of swanky tour buses, backstage catering and autograph seekers, he was known for humility and humbleness. He was a devout Buddhist who preferred writing poetry and listening to classical music during his downtime, a yin-yang balance to his onstage life of ferocious headbanging and beastly bass lines.

Remembered is his unyielding compassion, the guy who held poetry readings to benefit the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. He took homeless kids under his wing at the Wind Center, jammed with them and even supplied new instruments. Cheng simply believed in living selflessly.

So, it was no surprise that Cesar Chavez Plaza hosted a spontaneous candlelight vigil for Cheng as news of his death spread. Members of Duran Duran, Cypress Hill, No Doubt and other A-list acts meanwhile took to social media to share their tributes and condolences.

Deftones, meanwhile, soldier on, with bassist Sergio Vega, eyeing a festival tour of Australia with Pearl Jam, Snoop Dogg, Primus and others in January. Cheng will meanwhile be remembered as a beloved Sacramento musician, a guy who toured the world but always believed in his hometown.

– Chris Macias