The nu-metal musician was rushed to hospital in the early hours of Saturday morning (13.04.13), where he passed away at around 3am, his family confirmed.
A cause of death has not yet been revealed.
In a statement on website OneLoveForChi.com, his mother Jeanne Marie Cheng - known as 'Mom J' - wrote: ''This is the hardest thing to write to you. Your love and heart and devotion to Chi was unconditional and amazing.
''I know that you will always remember him as a giant of a man on stage with a heart for every one of you. He was taken to the emergency room and at 3 am today his heart just suddenly stopped.
''He left this world with me singing songs he liked in his ear. He fought the good fight.You stood by him sending love daily. He knew that he was very loved and never alone.''
Frontman Chino Moreno also paid his condolences on his Facebook page, posting: ''Rest in peace Chi Cheng.''
Cheng was previously left in a coma after a car crash in 2008, in which he was driving with his sister as a passenger. The pair crashed into another car, resulting in Cheng - who was not wearing a seatbelt - catapulting from the vehicle and sustaining serious injuries.
The rock star never made a full recovery from the accident and was left in a state of ill-health and semi-consciousness.
The Deftones were formed in the 1980s along with additional members Stephen Carpenter and Abe Cunningham. Cheng's bass playing was featured on five of the band's records - including their platinum selling 2000 album 'White Pony' - and the rockers took home Best Metal Performance at the Grammys in 2001.
The Recording Academy, who help present the prestigious awards, wrote in a statement released on Sunday (14.03.13): ''[Chi was a] powerful bassist who was larger than life on stage.
''Although the group's early years were more heavy metal-based, 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.''