'Brink of death' is nonsense
The 'brink of death' in the title is nonsense. They had one key contributor gone AWOL. The rest of the team was and is willing and capable of doing the job. They could have relatively easily changed servers and domain names if it had come to that. The donations were already put on hold. CentOS was not close to 'brink of death' by any means.
To the people who are saying that this demonstrates why various distros are unreliable: CentOS is a recompilation of RHEL, which is backed by the largest open source company in the world. Red Hat employs thousand of people and the largest number of Linux developers of any company. A CentOS installation can be kept alive by recompiling RHEL source packages if necessary, and RHEL is likely the most reliable distro there is as far as continued support is concerned. There are flaky distros out there, but CentOS is not one of them.
As the case of Lance whatshisname demonstrates, the important thing about the diversity of distros is not that every geek can find his favorite for his favorite gadget, but that if the leadership of one distro goes nuts, it does not affect Linux as a whole much. Think Mark Shuttleworth suddenly deciding tht he'd rather fly to Mars that develop software. Even if Red Hat fumbled things in a big way, there are other who would be able pick up their customers sooner or later. In contrast, if Apple had not got Jobs back, the whole company might have disappeared by now.