Chi Ling Dai Cheng was an American musician and poet, best known as the bassist for the American alternative metal band Deftones. His career ended in 2008, when he was involved in a serious automobile crash in Santa Clara, California. After the crash, he remained in a semi-comatose state before dying of a cardiac arrest in April 2013. After Cheng’s hospitalization, Deftones friend Sergio Vega became the band’s full-time bassist, having previously filled in for Cheng.
Early life and education
Cheng was born in July 1970 in Stockton, California, to Jeanne and Yin Yan Cheng. His father, a prominent Stockton cardiologist, was a Chinese immigrant. Cheng graduated from Tokay High School and attended California State University in Sacramento, enrolling in 1989. He worked on campus, wrote poetry, and played with his band Deftones during the course of his education
Cheng was studying English at Sacramento State when he joined Deftones. He would continue on as a poet and spoken word artist through his career with the band, often recording the spoken word with the intent for release later. He also authored an anthology of poetry titled The Bamboo Parachute, which was released in 2000 as a spoken word album. Cheng gave proceeds from the CD to various charities and to buy musical instruments for kids in the Sacramento area.
Cheng was a practicing Buddhist and maintained an interest in Taoism and Shamanism. In addition to his conversion to Buddhism during his university years, he also became a vegetarian.
Cheng had one son, Gabriel Cheng, from a previous marriage.