Answer: I'm sorry to hear about the decline of your lovely tree! 'Bloodgood' is succeptible to a stem canker disease which can cause bark splitting and dieback. I can't say for sure that this is the problem without seeing it, but your description is very accurate for this problem. It usually only attacks trees that are weakened by other conditions (growing conditions, such as poor drainage or air circulation, soil compaction, nutrient imbalance, and/or pest or mechanical injury). Go ahead and remove the dead portion of the trunk. You'll probably end up with a lopsided tree, but with judicious balanced pruning performed in winter. Good luck!
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