Deftones bassist CHI CHENG has died, more than four years after a car accident which left him in a semi-conscious state.

The 42 year old lost his fight for life on Saturday morning (13Apr13).

A statement from 'Mom J' on website later on Saturday reads, "Our dearest Family, 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 emegency (sic) 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."

The bassist slipped into a coma following a car crash in Santa Clara, California in November 2008, but had been showing signs of recovery - just last year (12) he was opening his eyes, making noises and could even raise his leg.

Cheng's musical peers have flocked to social media sites to pay tribute following the tragic news.

Deftones vocalist Chino Moreno states on his page, "Rest in peace Chi Cheng", while rocker Fred Durst adds on, "Rest in peace Chi. My most sincere prayers are with him and his family. Chi forever. Deftones forever."

No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal writes, "RIP Chi Cheng the man with a beautiful soul."

Cheng co-founded Deftones in the late 1980s with Moreno, Stephen Carpenter and Abe Cunningham.

The band was working on an album titled Eros at the time of the crash, but the project was shelved following the accident. Cheng was eventually replaced with Sergio Vega, formerly of Quicksand.