Gourd has a health of 0, allowing him to be killed upon taking any form or amount of damage.
It is possible to kill the cazadores before they kill Gourd by using a gun with a high rate of fire and moderate DAM along with the help of steady and V.A.T.S.. However, if you save him, Gourd does not engage in conversation with the Courier, simply saying "I'll mind my business, you mind yours."
xbox360 When saved from death Gourd seems to fall apart when a certain distance (couple of feet away) is met. Gourd's limbs, torso, and head seemingly falling apart into a puddle. When you re-approach Gourd he will stand back up and continue on normally. [verified]
pc If you try to save Gourd by killing the Cazadors and quicksave/quickload in order to take out the enemies one by one, it will probably not work. For some odd reason Gourd will just fall to the ground after each quickload as if he was dead, though you can still target him in V.A.T.S. for a very short time after loading your savegame. [verified]