The Fallen Caryatid: Ancient Greek architecture included women carved into columns, holding up the roof. They were later carved into buildings done in the Classical style and evolved into men, demons, anyone one wanted to have holding up a building forever. The sculptor Rodin created the Fallen Caryatid as a woman collapsing under the impossible burden, but struggling to carry it still. Many interpretations exist, of course.
The Sangheili/Elite Zuka in the Halo story Enemy Of My Enemy, who flies his nearly-destroyed Banshee, piloted by his nearly-dead self, directly into the exposed core of a hostile Scarab, saving the city.
Flt Lt. Fitzgerald sacrifices himself so the French pilot can get back to the Odyssey in Chapter Four of Reunions Are A Bitch.
In thisIron Man: Armored Adventures fanfic, both of Gene Khan's parents. Aung managed to nearly kill Zhang while bleeding to death, and Sarantuyaa let herself be killed in order to ensure her son would survive.
Actually, she's not attempting to invoke Death Equals Redemption so much as she's simply willing to die if that will help save the town.
Anne Littners dream is to "Go out in a blaze of glory" in The Spiral Path much to the disturbance of everyone who knows her.
According to some versions of the tall-tale, the legendary steel-driving man John Henry met his end when working on laying track through a mountain when the tunnel began collapsing. Henry, who supposedly Dual Wielded two twenty-pound sledgehammers because the standard ten-pound hammer felt light to him, was able to hold up the support beams until his fellow rail workers could escape, before his strength finally gave out. See Music below.
The old-style country song "Big John" by Jimmy Dean, loosely based on the legend of John Henry, about a large mine worker who was generally known as a brute due to his sheer size and strength. However, when the mine began collapsing, he used brute strength to hold up the collapsing beams long enough for his fellow workers to escape the mine, staying behind to hold it up long enough for them all to get out safely. The mine then collapsed completely, entombing him under several tons of earth. Attempts to dig his body out were futile, so a marble sign was placed before the caved-in entrance: "At the bottom of this mine lies a big BIG man — Big John"
Another old country song, also based on a true story, about a truck driver on a narrow road only wide enough for one vehicle, the edge of which opened over a huge fall (a mountainside or cliff or chasm, I can't remember which) and coming from the opposite direction as him was a schoolbus full of children. Rather than hit the bus and most likely killing the children inside, he deliberately drove his rig over the edge of the cliff and plunged to his death, saving the lives of the children at the cost of his own.
"Soldier", a song by Harvey Andrews, an English poet and songwriter. It starts telling the story of a guy who joined the British Army, because work was hard to find and, besides, there were no wars right away, and (lucky man) found himself in the middle of the British-Irish urban guerilla. The song actually reaches its climax when the guy, who was running a boring patrol tour in a train station, jumps over a bomb just thrown by IRA guerilla fighters, thus dooming himself and saving the lives of the people around him, for whom he nurtured no enmity and who had treated him with cold hatred just seconds before. Inspired by real life example of Sergeant Michael Willetts, thank you other wiki. Damn, he surely must have had some massive balls of steel.
Way, way too many Israeli songs to count.
Mentioned in the song "Your Guardian Angel" by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.
"Casey Jones/Mounted to his cabin/Casey Jones/With his orders in his hand/Casey Jones/Mounted to his cabin/And he took his farewell trip to that promis'd land."
Sinead O'Connor's song "Troy" is mostly about an obsessive love affair, but contains the line
I'd kill a dragon for you, and die
In Shadowrun just after his inaugural speech President Dunkelzahn rips out his own heart in an effort to stop the effects of Blood Magic and is assumed assassinated.
The Dungeons & Dragons supplement Book of Exalted Deeds advises DMs to go easy on resurrection penalties for good characters who go out on one of these; there's even the Risen Martyr prestige class.
Warhammer 40,000 - the Imperial Guard, period. Their entire existence is a heroic sacrifice. Against a galaxy crawling with monstrous Tyrannid bugs that outnumber them by an exponentially large ratio, the Lovecraftian horrors of Chaos, the Orkish hordes, life-sucking skeleton-men, mutants, psychics, barbarians and technologically advanced aliens... they're basically conscripts with a ridiculously obsolete lasgun in their hands and some flak armor. They're cannon fodder for the Space Marines who can't be everywhere at once. Unlike the Space Marines, they're not elite super-soldiers with demigod-like training and equipment, just regular people living in a dangerous and uncaring universe full of superpowered evil. And, despite this, they hold the line.
The Apocalypse Reload book gave them a new strategic asset: Fire On My Coordinates. Choose a soldier in your army with a communications backpack and have a cruiser in orbit fire a torpedo/plasma blast right on top of them (though they have to pass a morale test to do it). You can just see the squad crouching in the trenches, most of them desperately holding the enemy off while the main army retreats, the communications trooper shouting "fire on my coordinates!" into the microphone, blasting the advancing Ork/Tyranid/Chaos/etc. horde and the squad into very small pieces.
Also important to mention is the Imperial Guard Saint Ollanius Pius, the guardsman who threw himself between the Emperor and Horus, even though he saw the man whom he saw as a literal god fall before the 'Beast' that was Horus.
Also fitting would be Sanguinius, primarch of the Blood Angels, who, wounded, exhausted and having seen his own death in the future (yes, Sanguinius was able to divine the future to a certain degree), resisted Horus' promises of power, wealth, fame and (most importantly) life in favour of certain death to inflict a chink in Horus' armour.
Speaking of the Space Marines, the final stand of the Astral Knights chapter. To wit, a Necron World Engine (think the Death Star piloted by Omnicidal Maniac killbots) was flying straight towards Terra, and the Imperial Navy along with some Space Marine ships were dispatched to destroy it. Every attempt to destroy it failed due to powerful shielding, and the Imperial Navy took heavy losses. So what did the Astral Knights do? They flew their battlebarge Tempestus straight into it at full speed, punching through it's shields and smashing into the surface. Seven hundred and seventy two Space Marines poured out of the wreckage with the intention of destroying every cannon, power node and command module they came across, beset on all sides by tens of thousands of Necrons. The battle lasted for a hundred hours, and ended only when the Chapter Master himself and five other warriors penetrated their way deep into the World Engine and destroyed the main power nodes with melta-bombs, bringing down the shields and allowing the Navy to blast the World Engine to kingdom come with huge volleys of cyclonic torpedoes. For their sacrifice, a monument was erected on the planet Safehold, constructed of the wreckage of the Tempestus and 772 statues, each representing the Astral Knights marines who gave their lives to protect the Imperium. Manly Tears.
Older fluff has one story of an Eldar force who covered the escape of an Imperial contingent, including civilians, from a massive horde of Tyranids. The Imperials managed to escape successfully, but the Eldar were wiped out.
After the defection of Primarch Magnus the Red to Chaos, Malcador the Sigillite was the only man left in the Imperium of Man who had the power to temporarily replace the God Emperor on the Golden Throne, to allow the Emperor to battle Horus. Being a mere mortal, Malcador was fully aware that it was a task that would end his life, but it was necessary to protect the human built sections of the Webway from a massive daemonic invasion. When the mortally wounded Emperor was brought back to the Golden Throne, Malcador the Sigillite mustered the last of his power to temporarily revive the Emperor, allowing him to dictate to Rogal Dorn plans to turn the Golden Throne into an arcane life support system. This allowed the Emperor to keep himself in a state of near death for over 10,000 years to maintain the Astronomicon and protect humanity from the Warp. Malcador's body turned into dust after this last act.
In TORG, one of the subplot cards the players can use is Martyr which, once set up, will allow the player to automatically succeed at something by heroically sacrificing their own life.
In the film Mask of Light, Jaller and Takua/Takanuva do this mutually to each other. First, Jaller jumps into the line of Turahk's fear energy, braking its effect over Takua, but dies from pure fear. Later Takua, having become the Toa Takanuva, merges withMakuta and uses their combined strength to open the gate leading to the city of Metru Nui. They sacrifice part of their life-force to resurrect Jaller, but the gate crushes them. Then, Takanuva is also brought back. He later jokingly asks Jaller to never do this again.
In Legends of Metru Nui, Turaga Lhikan (whose mask was later given to Jaller) likewise jumps in between Vakama and Makuta's energy hand.
In the conclusion of the 2007 story arc, Toa Matoro sacrifices himself by wearing the Mask of Life, which converts him into energy used to revive Mata Nui.
Toa Ignika, the physical form of the Mask of Life does the same to kick-start Mata Nui's awakening, and while the mask remains sentient, it had to give up its body and its life as a Toa for good.
In Dusk's Dawn Donut charges into the Evil Twin's scepter, knocking himself out to save Star Whistle. He's alright.
Survival of the Fittest character David Jackson attacks Jacob Starr to buy time for Adam Dodd to free Amanda Jones and Madelaine Shirohara from a locked warehouse. David dies in the ensuing gun battle, though not before wounding Jacob.
Also subverted in the case of Simon Wood, when he attacked Darnell Butler to buy time for his girlfriend, Madison Conner, to escape. The catch? Darnell isn't playing. Simon is killed in the ensuing fight, albeit accidentally.
Handlers can do this if the character of another handler gets rolled. They have one hero card, which means their character dies instead.
Ethan Kent from V4 did this in a fit of rage, taking out one of the cameras on purpose, giving the students an opportunity to subvert Danya's plans, but ensuring his own demise. Later, Feo Smith helps the sacrifice come full circle by (somewhat unintentionally) destroying all traces of Ethan's plan after a group of arrivals actually found the location of the island. She does this by setting most of the equipment on fire and shredding most of the paperwork, trying to accomplish it before her collar detonates for staying in a danger zone. Unfortunately, while she does succeed, she doesn't make it out in time.
The Leet World: After being severely damaged by Ahmad, Asher activates his self destruct mechanism. Ahmad goes into Flash Step mode and tackles him, taking the explosion himself and saving the rest of the cast.
...there isn't a word for what Guru does to this trope in Dragon Ball Z Abridged. He senses that the dragon has been summoned and is granting wishes, and says to himself, "Would be a reeeeaaaal dick move if I died right now." Which he does. Which banishes the dragon. Basically, he kills himself strictly For the Evulz. A Jerkass Sacrifice, if you will.
Phylis Alince of The Gungan Council destroys the Heart of Darkness to keep it out of the Sith's hands. Some spectacular fireworks ensue as everything near her, including herself, disintegrates!
Prior to this, the crew of the USS Exit Strategy sacrifice themselves to expand the Plot Hole, allowing it to encompass (and thus protect) the entire world. They are resurrected shortly afterwards, but they had no idea that would happen going in.
In lonelygirl15, Bree Avery does the Ceremony to stop the Order chasing her friends, and Gina Hart takes a bullet to save Jonas.
In Marble Hornets, Tim, in the midst of a coughing fit and unable to stand, let alone walk, demands that Jay leave him behind when the Operator is approaching them in the tunnel.
ChipCheezum's LP of Metal Gear Solid 3 brings us Mission J. Frog, a seemingly innocuous frog captured earlier on in the LP for "a mission". Hours later in the fight against Volgin, Chip throws out Mission J. Frog, who distracts Volgin the first time, but is fatally shot with electricity afterwards.
In Pyrrhic, Hanako dies in order to protect Joshua, knowing that if they stop to attempt to heal her, he would likely die, as the person who shot Hanako (Marie) would catch up to them.