Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.
Like you, I really liked Rich, and I looked forward every year to celebrating your birthday with him, plus all the other times we'd get together. As you said, he always brought great wine, and his food contributions were always superb. He had an excellent palate for both (even if he couldn't detect TCA). So distressting to hear this, though we heavily suspected from what you told me of the last time he visited you that something was deeply wrong.
FWIW, after you told me about that I tried various internet-available ways to track him down. I imagined him in some nursing home with no way to let his friends know where and how he was, and I pictured us bringing Listerene bottles full of Burgundy to his bedside. But of course (or you'd have been the first to know), I wasn't successful.
Dear old Richard. I was trying to decide between a burgundy and a merlot for tonight's dinner. Of course, it's decided now.
What a dear guy.
But here's a cheerful thought: wherever he is, he doesn't have to wash his hair anymore.