Today I was contacted by a jazz musician, Jim B., who has played at the Charles Schultz Museum in Santa Rosa, California, and who has met Vince Guaraldi's son and grandson, as well as members of the Schulz family. The Guaraldi-Schultz connection was that Vince composed original jazz themes for Charles Schultz's television episodes based on the famous Charlie Brown cartoon series.
There have been rumors that drugs played a significant part in the death of Vince Guaraldi. According to Jim B., those rumors appear to be untrue. Jim writes:
Guaraldi died of an aneurysm that developed in a major blood vessel just next to his heart. He had been feeling unwell for at least a day before he died, and no one, including himself, knew he had an aneurysm. It could have been removed by surgery and he could have still been living today (he would be 81).I have added Jim's narrative to my original post linked above.
I know this from Guaraldi's son, who read the coroner's certificate.
The only person with him at the moment of his death was drummer Eliot Zigmund, who lives in NYC now. He was playing with Vince at Butterfield's that night.
When they took their set break, he and Vince went into the provided motel room to relax. Vince headed for the bathroom but never made it. The aneurysm burst mid-stride, VG fell to the floor, and since the blood flow was not reaching his brain he died instantly.
Another commenter says that the drummer with Guaraldi was Jim Zimmerman, not Zigmund, and quotes a published source as support. I believe that this other commenter is correct about Zimmerman.