O'Driscoll (33) has become the latest experienced Munster player to call time on his career and he will retire at the end of the current campaign after 14 years at the top, including two seasons with Perpignan.
"It's scary -- but it's coming to us all," said O'Connell. "I'm sure Micko is well prepared for it, a very clever and astute guy.
"I suppose it's a decision we all will have to make soon, but he's still playing great rugby. I thought he had an excellent game last weekend and he has been a great player for Munster."
O'Connell said that O'Driscoll was a real team player and had made a huge contribution to Munster rugby. "In recent years when we won Magners Leagues, a lot of it has been to do with Micko's running of the team when the internationals were away," he said.
O'Driscoll -- who picked up his 204th Munster cap in the win against Warriors last Saturday -- said that he will move away from rugby and has no plans to become a coach.
"It has been a tough decision. I have really enjoyed my career, but now is the right time to move on," he said.
"This is a clean break from rugby. I have a couple of different opportunities in business, which I will hopefully explore in the next couple of months."
While he claims he hasn't fallen out of love with the game, O'Driscoll admitted that the frustration of sitting in the stands for big games has ground him down.
"I suppose a combination of things, this is my 14th season of professional rugby and maybe for me I'm not playing in all the big matches I would want to be playing in. I'm not saying it's a reason, but it's a contributing factor," said O'Driscoll, who won 23 Irish caps and a further 15 for Ireland 'A'.
Meanwhile, Ronan O'Gara has been ruled out of Saturday's crucial clash with Scarlets, with both sides battling for a top four finish.
Tony McGahan confirmed that the out-half will sit out the Parc Y Scarlets encounter having failed to recover from a dead leg sustained against Ulster, but O'Connell and Keith Earls are included.
squad in factfile