I suppose it's possible the esata port on either the external HD or on the computer might have gone bad. Or the esata cable itself. Or if the HD was turned on while you were booting the computer there may have been too much of a power requirement that caused the PC to freeze.
I'd try booting your computer without the external drive connected. Once booted, connect the esata cable to the computer first, make sure the external HD is turned off, connect the esata cable to the HD, then power on the HD. If the PC feezes again I'd say it's definitely the esata port or cable.