Illness and death
Commemorative plaque in the Brighton Centre foyer
Following his recovery from a life-threatening fungal infection of his right lung in January 1974, Crosby emerged from semi-retirement to start a new spate of albums and concerts. In March 1977, after videotaping a concert at the Ambassador Theater in Pasadena for CBS to commemorate his 50th anniversary in show business, and with Bob Hope looking on, Crosby fell off the stage into an orchestra pit, rupturing a disc in his back requiring a month in the hospital. His first performance after the accident was his last American concert, on August 16, 1977 (the day singer Elvis Presley died); when the power went out during his performance, he continued singing without amplification.
In September, Crosby, his family and singer Rosemary Clooney began a concert tour of Britain that included two weeks at the London Palladium. While in the UK, Crosby recorded his final album, Seasons, and his final TV Christmas special with guest David Bowie on September 11 (which aired a little over a month after Crosby's death). His last concert was in the Brighton Centre on October 10, four days before his death, with British entertainer Dame Gracie Fields in attendance. The following day he made his final appearance in a recording studio and sang eight songs at the BBC Maida Vale studios for a radio program, which also included an interview with Alan Dell. Accompanied by the Gordon Rose Orchestra, Crosby's last recorded performance was of the song "Once in a While". Later that afternoon, he met with Chris Harding to take photographs for the Seasons album jacket.
Crosby's grave at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California (incorrect birth year)
On October 13, 1977, Crosby flew alone to Spain to play golf and hunt partridge. On October 14, at the La Moraleja Golf Course near Madrid, Crosby played 18 holes of golf. His partner was World Cup champion Manuel Piñero; their opponents were club president César de Zulueta and Valentín Barrios. According to Barrios, Crosby was in good spirits throughout the day, and was photographed several times during the round. At the ninth hole, construction workers building a house nearby recognized him, and when asked for a song, Crosby sang "Strangers in the Night". Crosby, who had a 13 handicap, lost to his partner by one stroke. As Crosby and his party headed back to the clubhouse, Crosby said, "That was a great game of golf, fellas." At about 6:30 pm, Crosby collapsed about 20 yards from the clubhouse entrance and died instantly from a massive heart attack. At the clubhouse and later in the ambulance, house physician Dr. Laiseca tried to revive him, but was unsuccessful. At Reina Victoria Hospital he was administered the last rites of the Catholic Church and was pronounced dead. On October 18, following a private funeral Mass at St. Paul's Catholic Church in Westwood, Crosby was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California. A plaque was placed at the golf course in his memory.