On the website OneLoveForChi.com, Cheng's mother wrote a letter to fans, explaining that Cheng had been taken to the emergency room early Saturday morning. "At 3 am today his heart just suddenly stopped," she said. "He left this world with me singing songs he liked in his ear."
Cheng had been in a state of semi-consciousness at the time of his death, due to serious injuries sustained as a result of a 2008 car accident. He was initially left comatose after the crash, but had been slowly improving in recovery, regaining some physical function and attempting to communicate. The site OneLoveForChi.com had been established to inform fans of his progress, as well as help with his considerable medical expenses.
"I know that you will always remember him as a giant of a man on stage with a heart for every one of you," Cheng's mother noted. "He fought the good fight. You stood by him sending love daily. He knew that he was very loved and never alone."
She urged fans for prayers, especially for Cheng's son Gabriel.
Cheng's band has not made a formal statement yet, although Deftones frontman Chino Moreno posted "Rest in peace" on his Facebook page.
In addition to his work with Deftones--which included the band's first five albums--Cheng released a spoken-word album of original poetry, The Bamboo Parachute, in 2000.
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