Drysdale was 56 when he died of a heart attack at Le Centre Sheraton in Montreal, Quebec, on July 3, 1993. Radio station employees were sent to look for him when he did not appear for the bus ride to Olympic Stadium, where the Dodgers were scheduled to play the Montreal Expos. Hotel staff entered his room and found him face-down near his bed. The coroner estimated that he had been dead for 18 hours. Drysdale’s final broadcast was the night before his death.
Drysdale’s broadcasting colleague Vin Scully, who was instructed not to say anything on the air until Drysdale’s family was notified, announced the news of his death by saying, “Never have I been asked to make an announcement that hurts me as much as this one. And I say it to you as best I can with a broken heart.”Fellow broadcaster Ross Porter told his radio audience, “I just don’t believe it, folks.” While this was going on, word reached Drysdale’s former White Sox colleague Ken Harrelson as he was calling that evening’s game against the Baltimore Orioles; an emotional Harrelson had trouble relaying the news to the viewing audience. Drysdale was replaced by Rick Monday in the broadcast booth.
Among the personal belongings found in Drysdale’s hotel room was a cassette tape of Robert F. Kennedy’s victory speech after the 1968 California Democratic presidential primary, a speech given only moments before Senator Kennedy’s assassination. In the speech, Kennedy had noted, to the cheers of the crowd, that Drysdale had pitched his sixth straight shutout that evening. Drysdale had apparently carried the tape with him wherever he went since Kennedy’s murder.
Drysdale’s body was cremated and his ashes were placed in the Utility Columbarium in the Great Mausoleum at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California, but they were scattered in 2002.