Posted: 30/07/2013 at 08:47
It sounds like the end for your ceanothus I'm afraid. In my experience this is typical of ceanothus by suddenly dying. Do the usual tests to confirm dead stems lower down.
For me, rather than live with a large dying or dead ceanothus for the rest of,the summer I would have it out. Ceanothus quickly get to 10 ' again, depending on variety , but don't plant another in that spot.
(you could wait and hope your bush will recover, checking it every day, etc., etc., but meanwhile you could have something nice growing there instead)