If done well, this can be a real Tear Jerker. It can be undermined somewhat if the character later gets better, but eh, what'cha gonna do...
Someone may note that it was a Great Way to Go.
Beware while reading this page. This article has been proven to cause Manly Tears in many tropers.
If an example fits in one of the subtropes, please list it there instead.
As a Death Trope, all spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.
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Raoh's death. He sends his fist towards the heavens, says "I HAVE NO REGRETS!" and projects all his energy into the sky, bringing light to the desolate waste lands and becoming a statue in the process. He commits a Heroic Sacrifice for the whole world. He becomes the God of it!
Kaioh's death is nothing to scoff at either. He kills himself by standing in the middle of a volcano with his brother Hyo's corpse in his arms, says "Farewell" to Kenshiro and is engulfed by lava, turning them both into fossilised statues.
And then there's Rei's death. While it is the most Cruel and Unusual Death any of the heroes suffers in Fist of the North Star, inflicted as it was by Raoh and his Hokuto Shinken, his final three days on the planet were just enough for him to finally take down his longtime rival and nemesis Juda and pull one of the most awesome Screw Destiny moments in the entire series on behalf of Mamiya, the only woman he's ever loved, giving his life so that the Star of Death (which is normally an inexorable Portent of Doom for anyone who sees it in the Fist of the North Star universe) no longer appears for her.
In Valvrave the Liberator Marie's backstory is given all in one episode, explaining her amnesia, which had been brought up only a few episodes before to, in turn, explain her strange behavior. With the Valvraves pinned down and the heroes on the verge of being completely wiped out, she pilots Valvrave Unit 1 and kicks lots of ass-but the Valvrave is absorbing Runes from her in the form of information-her memories. By the time its over, her memories, and then her life have been completely drained.
In Pandora Hearts, two honorable mentions go to Elliot and Alice. Elliot is mean and aloof to the main character, Oz, However, when Elliot has a Tomato in the Mirror moment where he realizes HE is the one who murdered his family and his chain controls him into murdering them, he realizes he has to do something, so he rejects Humpty Dumpty within him altogether, which eventually kills him. His last words are about his servant.
Alice is a girl/monster called B-rabbit who normally beats up on Oz and calls him her property — But when she was a human 100 years ago, her personality was entirely different. She was warm and loving to her rabbit doll Oz — even though she liked to beat him up and bite him. [[spoiler:So when her sister and her sister's crazy love interest plot to destroy the entire world using her beloved plush bunny and make him suffer, she is not happy. She acts like her sister by putting on her dress and acting all innocent and then once she learns what Jack did, she reveals herself to him and laughs at him before pointing out that [[Tearjerker her friend Oz is crying and screaming about how he doesn't want to kill anymore. She cries when she hears him and puts her hands on over her ears because it's so heartbreaking. Jack pins her to the ground and starts screaming for her sister to enter her own body and not her. Her sister starts to tell her to back off and Alice tells her not to come and her sister says she'll force her to leave her own body. Alice stabs Jack's arm with a pair of scissors. She tells him he's a fool, then she thinks over what she has to do, then she looks over at Oz (both the rabbit and the human who is watching) and tells him that she was happy to have him by their sides. "Oz, you've been with us since the very beginning. Having you with me made me very happy... thank you. Don't worry, Alyss and I, we are one and the same, but you are mine!I'll protect you with my own hands! I won't let anyone take away what's mine!She then kills herself with a pair of scissors, thus preventing Jack's crazyness from winning over....oh, and then she fuses with Oz and steals his power from him in order to accommodate her dying soul.
Almost all the deaths in Ginga Densetsu Weed and Ginga Nagareboshi Gin-the dogs almost always Died Standing Up in a way, at least the good ones, a few of them fulfilling the aforementioned trope very literally. Most of them die in some kind of kamikaze attack, flat out saying that they don't mind dying at all, so long as their enemies go down with them.
YuYu Hakusho's main character Yusuke dies rescuing a child from being hit by a car (doesn't seem much on this page, but the Powers That Be were so completely thrown for a loop that he received the chance to be resurrected), Kuwabara fakes one in the Dark Tournament Saga, and then Yusuke takes one for the team in the Chapter Black arc. He gets better, but he didn't know that he would. Raizen's death is pretty cool too.
Specifically Yusuke wasn't supposed to do anything AT ALL that first time. He actually defied fate to die helping the child who would have been fine without his intervention...not that he knew any of that. In fact, his actions only served to make the accident worse and to give the child a bunch of scrapes from being pushed out of the way.
Zabuza Momochi in Naruto. His arms are useless, he's exhausted, and there's an army of mercenaries between him and his goal. What does he do? He takes a kunai in his teeth, cuts a path through the army while getting impaled, and proceeds to behead his target. With a kunai in his teeth.
Sarutobi Hiruzen, the Third Hokage died fighting the ressurected First Hokage, Hashirama, his younger brother and Second Hokage Tobirama, and their summonerOrochimaru. And he won. While the battle appeared to have become Overshadowed by Awesome as the series progressed and fights got ever increasingly epic, the fightsagainst the likewisely revivedMadara Uchiha, who was supposedly Always Second Best to Hashirama (at least pre- edo tensei), and the one against the King-Gin brothers, who killed Tobirama, put that battle to a new perspective.
Deidara used a jutsu which transformed him in a Fantastic Nuke in his fight with Sasuke, who had no intent to kill Deidara. Deidara didn't kill himself for a Heroic Sacrifice or Taking You with Me, but to spite the Uchiha and make himself his final work of art.
Kisame bit through his tongue, trapped himself in a water prison, and summoned three sharks which he let eat him alive so that he wouldn't divulge any information on Akatsuki to the good guys.
Minato Namikaze, the Fourth Hokage and his wife Kushina Uzumaki sealing the Nine-Tailed Fox in Narutoand themselves into his seal. They do this after successfully forcing Tobi and the Fox back. And just to ensure their death was as spectacular as possible, the fatal wound wasn't any of the other crap that happened, but them willingly using their own bodies to slow and then catch the claw of the Nine-Tails, saving their son's life.
Konan being the first person since Minato to give Tobi a run for his money to the point that he has to bring out the big guns just to insure she didn't blow him TO BITS.
Kakashi using the last bit of his chakra to stop Pain from killing Chouji. He gets better though
Jiraiya managed to disable one of the paths of Pain and sent a dying message that was crucial to his defeat. Some of this occurred after he had already briefly died.
Shikaku and Inoichi, knowing that a blast from the Ten-Tails will kill them shortly are less afraid of death and more angry about not being able to do more. Even as the attack is closing in, they use their remaining time to forward their final strategy to the Shinobi Alliance.
Kittan takes this even further, not only giving out a badass speech, but managing to pull off the spiral eye level of power (which only Lord Genome and Simon, at their heights, pull off otherwise) and the signature move of Gurren Lagann...with a broken drill.
Bleach: Several of the Espada die in awesome ways. Barragan's death in particular would make Starscream himself shed a tear. In short, he throws his axe at his Big Bad boss Aizen, while slowly disintegrating as a result of his own powers. He even manages to get Aizen to turn around and notice the attempted assassination, which is saying quite a bit. Ulquiorra probably counts as well, and Stark had a nice send off.
Most of the crowning moments in Darker than Black are these. For example, November 11 taking down a room full of heavily-armed guards with a bottle of brandy before succumbing to a bullet wound, Huang luring The Syndicate enforcers chasing him into a car chase so he could blow them all up once he'd gotten the pursuit away from Hei, and Amber Ret Gone-ing herself to let Hei Take a Third Option and stop the genocide the villains were planning without erasing Japan from the map.
Walker too gets one, despite being just the Red Shirt of the day, he shows himself repeatedly to be an extremely honorable soldier. He even goes on fighting against Heavyarms without any chance of winning: "COME GET ME, YOU MONSTERRRRRRRR!!!!!"
And in the original Mobile Suit Gundam the episode "Big Zam's Last Stand" serves as one for Anti-VillainDozleZabi. With The Federation closing in, and his troops cornered, Dozle sorties in the Big Zam, goes One-Man Army on The Federation and buys his men time to escape. Then as the Gundam tears the Big Zam apart, he climbs out, pulls out an assault rifle and continues shooting at it until he's killed. Defiant to the End indeed.
Not just Dozle Zabi, but a lot of characters in the original Gundam went out in blazes of glory. Dozle's little brother Garma was first, piloting a crashing Gaw in an attempt to destroy the White Base despite being drawn into a trap by Char. A wounded Ryu Jose slammed a Core Fighter into the Dopp of Crowley Hamon when she went on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge for Ramba Ral's death, Matilda Ajan knocking a Dom away to save Amuro and the rest of the White Base from the Black Tri-Stars, Sleggar Law damaging the Big Zam enough for Amuro to break through... there's plenty there.
Natarle smiled to her terrified Bridge Bunnies as she sent them away from Azrael's madness, was shot 4 times by him, and when then she wasn't able to stop Flaga's Heroic Sacrifice, she still got Azrael trapped in the Dominion as Murrue finished both of them off.
In Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, Commander Bruzar gets one in episode 3. Already badly injured and with the colony falling apart around him, Bruzar makes it to the emergency controls and turns the colony core loose. Unfortunately, it's jammed by wreckage. So Bruzar climbs into a spaceship and crashes himself into the wreckage, freeing the colony, and preventing protagonist Flit from having to risk his own life to do so. All this, despite dealing with a sucking chest wound from about five minutes it.
The next one is Don Boyage's in episode ten. He ends up doing a Self Destructive Charge right into the UE's battleship. Subverted in that it didn't even scratch the paint...then double subverted when it turns out his Rousing Speech galvanized the rest of the pilots fighting to the point where they won the battle.
Yurin L'Ciel has one in episode 14. After finally freeing her mobile suit from Desil's mind control, she sees Desil preparing the final blow against Flit. In what is quite possibly the most heroic (and heartbreaking) scene in the series thus far, she takes the hit and saves Flit's life at the cost of her own.
Even a minor villain gets one! Daz Roden, who had previously embarrassed himself in the eyes of the fans for losing to three old men, a sprinkler, and a rocket launcher while in a Dorado, proves that he wasn't harmless after all by overloading his mu-szell and ramming what was left of his Dorado L into the Gundam AGE-1. The Gundam survived, but it was severely crippled, and so Flit was taken out of the fight.
Two words: Obright Lorain. He kills Leil and then engages Fram, well aware that he's within the Digmazenon Cannon's line of fire, and that it'll be able to fire soon. He's doing this to buy time for the Gundams to escape. And as if that weren't awesome enough, he manages to defeat Fram after being mortally wounded, by being quick on the uptake with a reverse-gripped beam saber. And finally, he goes out with a smile as the Digmazenon Cannon envelops the two mobile suits.
The crew of the Reinforce Jr. in Mobile Suit Victory Gundam, all of them old men who know they are going to die anyway and, with their ship badly damaged, they decide to go out in a blaze of glory: armed with a damaged battleship and a damaged Gunblaster, they fight their way towards the Motorad Squad, telling the young ones to get out and live.
Only Wizardmon? Upon returning to the Digital World, the Digidestined found themselves up against all four Dark Masters at once. After a Heroic Sacrifice by Chuumon buys them one free pass, there is seemingly no hope...until Piximon shows up, puts the Digidestined in a bubble and sends them flying as far away as possible, and performs a You Shall Not Pass to prevent the Dark Masters from pursuing them. That's one Ultimate trying to hold off four Megas.
Grani in Digimon Tamers. Originally a simple program made to transport the kids and their Digimon in the Digital World, he gained a new appearance and served as Gallantmon's steed when the conflict with the D-Reaper crossed over into the real world. When too badly damaged by the D-Reaper to continue, Grani reminds the protagonists that they're his friends, and deconstructs himself to enable Gallantmon to enter Crimson Mode.
Grani: Do you want to fly? I will give you my wings.
Cowboy Bebop: Spike Spiegel's one-man assault on the Red Dragon building and his final duel with Vicious, all the way to the end. "Bang." See you, space cowboy...
Most of the deaths at the end of the first season of Sailor Moon. Special mention goes to Sailor Mars, though.
Misato's death in End of Evangelion wasn't the most dignified way to go, despite being heartbreaking. She gets a new, decidedly more awesome send-off in the manga adaptation: After sending Shinji off in the elevator with a heartfelt pep-talk, she waits calmly for SEELE's soldiers. When they break through the door Misato sealed off earlier, they prepare to fire, and Misato... gives them a small smile, and holds up a pinless grenade.
Also, special mention should go to Asuka's death, which occurs less than twenty minutes later. After her Last Stand against the MP Evas, she finally runs out of power, gets stabbed through the skull, disemboweled, harpooned, dismembered, and finally eaten. The entire time, not only is she still alive, but she's still trying to fight back! This is either one of the most kick-ass moments in the series or one of the most disturbing... She gets better 'tho... If waking up in a ruined post-Apocalyptic world as one of possibly the only two people alive can be called "better".
Kaji. You're a little late, aren't you?
Similiar to Misato, Ritsuko's death in the anime was even sadder and more undignified, because at least Misato accomplished something with her's. In the Manga, Gendo tells her that he really did love her before shooting her. It's revealed that she didn't die a few issues later and she manages to shoot him in the throat telling him that he never loved anyone before dying.
Rei II death was awesome as well and cute and quite disturbing all the same.
Vegeta's spectacular death scene during the Buu Saga, arguably the best part of the entire saga. Nearly completely breaking down from his back-to-back catastrophic losses, he reflects soberly on his life and, for the first time, hugs his son. He asks Piccolo if he'll meet Goku in the afterlife, and Piccolo candidly tells Vegeta that he will very likely not go to the same afterlife as the heroic and selfless Goku. Vegeta shrugs and sends his son away with Piccolo, gives a Big Scream, and consumes himself in an apocalyptic inferno (that can be seen from space) that reduces Buu to vapor.
Vegeta almost gets another one near the end. Kid Buu has just finished pounding Vegeta into the dirt, Goku can barely hold his own, and no one else is powerful enough to even scratch Buu. Goku, the rival who Vegeta has been trying to prove is inferior for 200+ episodes, says he can win but he'll need an undistracted minute to gather power. "I've got it covered." "What?" "Your minute. I've got it covered." Vegeta steps back into the fight, knowing quite well he'll get his ass handed to him, just to buy time for the man he has finally admitted is the better fighter.
Even in Dragon Ball GT, Goku's death is awesome. Once his power runs out COMPLETELY, meaning he no longer has the ability to maintain his SSJ4 form, let alone fuse back into Gogeta, Omega Shenron kills him. Goku stands up (still dead) and contacts King Kai to make the biggest Spirit Bomb of all, one powered by the entire freakingUNIVERSE. Then Shenron carries him to Heaven. Even GT had it's Crowning Moment of Awesome as a series.
Android 16. Unlike the other characters in this series, this ginger had no soul, and almost certainly knew it. Yet his reassuring smile to Gohan never leaves his face even as Cell crushes him.
In Shadow Skill, Blackwing's last stand against Darkness is so impressive, he's actually posthumously awarded the title of champion of his magical kingdom, which is the highest honor a warrior of his nationality can attain, which includes resurrection and transformation into an unkillable immortal.
Samurai 7 loves to play this trope to the samurai. Gorobei dies from protecting the farmers, and when Kanbei asks if he fulfilled his task, he merely replies "You gotta be kidding!"
Also when Kikuchiyo holds the falling capital from crushing the village with only his BARE HANDS, he manages to stop the capital though it destroys his entire body in the process, leaving only his feet behind.
Another "person" was, strangely, the Going Merry. After having its keel damaged beyond repair, dropped into the sea during a typhoon from several feet, and getting washed up onto the rocks, it still manages to show up to save all the heroes at Enies Lobby during the largest bombardment that is capable by the Marines, and sailing through about a dozen battleships, finally falling apart after getting the crew to safety. It manages to make the following scene one of the biggest tear jerkers in the series.
The Pirate King, Gold Roger. The man spent the last few years of his pirating days with a terminal illness. Rather than letting the disease take its course, he finished exploring the Grand Line, and allowed himself to be captured by the World Government. Obviously, they sent him to be executed, publicly, with the spectacle transmitted to the entire world, just to warn aspiring pirates what awaits them. Roger took advantage of this, and the moment comes with his last words, which turned his execution from a warning, to the moment that sparked the golden age of piracy. And then, he simply laughed as they took his head.
"My wealth and treasures? If you want it, it's yours. I left everything I gathered in one place. But you'll have to search the entire world!"
Alot of the posthumous characters in the series get some heroic and/or heartwearming send offs. To name a few, Belle-mere takes her death with dignity as she tells Nami and Nojiko she loves them. Dr. Hiriluk gives a great speech about his view on life as he faces down Wapol's guards, before he suicides via an explosive elixir. And Brook's crew, including himself, spend their final moments singing their favorite song, Binks' Sake, as they slowly die from poisoned arrows.
Lucius Artorious Castas in Vinland Saga, cuts off the head of King Sweyn then challenges the entire assembly of Viking nobles, is finally taken down after killing dozens of soldiers. As bloody as it was, it was also the first selfless act the man had ever committed in his life.
Let's tell the whole story here! Sweyn was going to have Lucius, AKA: Askeladd's beloved homeland of Wales attacked as a diversion and blackmailed him with the offer: Kill Prince Canute or Wales is invaded. In front of EVERYONE, Askeladd draws his sword, declares his true name and beheads Sweyn. He only dies when he allows CANUTE to stab him, making Canute a respected king and saving his homeland at the same time, as he knows Canute will protect it. Magnificent!
Wolfwood in the Trigun manga. After a massively badass fight against his former mentor and the triple-Punisher-wielding Livio/Razlo that forced him to chemically push his body past all limits, Wolfwood sees the children from the orphanage to safety, shares one last, quiet drink with Vash in the ruins of December and dies.
Al's death. He sacrifices his own life and body (which is now a living Philosopher's Stone) to resurrect his brother.
Ed possibly tops this when, just after being brought back, he makes the exact same sacrifice, reviving Al (and giving his brother his body back, no less)... without the use of a Philosopher's Stone.
Even Kimblee's (er, Kimbley's) death counts. Shortly after Scar blasts a fatal hole through his chest, he grabs onto Al and turns him into a bomb. When an outraged Scar demands to know what he has done, Kimbley smiles maliciously and says "I want him to think about how useless his efforts have been," before dying.
The death of Scar. At this point in the series, Scar's grand plan was to realize his revenge against the Amestrian military by turning the town of Liore into a Philosopher Stone transmutation circle, intending to use the soldiers as sacrifices for the stone. Before he is able to do so, Kimbley engages him, and blows off Scar's right arm. Scar still kills him, but as mentioned above, he turns Al's body into a bomb. Scar decides that the only way to save him is to transfer the tattoo on his arm to Al's body, not only making Al the recipient for the Philosopher Stone he intends to create, but destroying his OTHER ARM in the process. Shortly thereafter, he lures the military into the town by dropping Kimbley's body from the top of a building. Stop and think about that one for a second. Scar has NO ARMS, and managed to somehow bring Kimbley's body onto the ROOF OF A BUILDING and DROP HIM OFF IT. After sustaining gunshot wounds, he finally collapses on the gap between the lines of the transmutation circle he's carved, completing and activating the circle using his OWN BODY. In the end, Al becomes a Philosopher Stone, setting the rest of the plot into motion. Scar originally intended to use the Stone he created. But he still goes through with the plan even when it's clear he's not going to make it OUT OF PURE SPITE. And also to save Al, which is also pretty badass.
Buccaneer and Fu's deaths, since they did wound Wrath for the first time.
Lust also deserves a special mention here. She gets the most badass death out of the homunculi by sheer aesthetics, and her finger lance was just inches away from Roy's head. As she goes down, she just taunts him that there's going to be hell later.
The Promised Day Arc was one for King Bradley. He manages to cause serious issues for the heroes, gets Father his last sacrifice by working with Pride (Utterly Curbstomping Mustang in the progress), and almost indirectly stopped Hohenhiem's Spanner in the Works (If he killed Scar, he wouldn't have been able to activate the reverse transmutation circle). All while taking increasingly savage injuries. By the time he fights Scar, he's half dead. And he manages to almost kill him despite Scar being at his best. It culminates with him giving a near fatal wound to Scar after his arms were blown off (Using a sword held in his teeth no less!), before contemplating his life, getting one last laugh against Lan Fan, and Go Out with a Smile.
Solf J. Kimblee, who had previously had his throat ripped out and the rest of him devoured by Pride, calmly emerges from Pride's internal torrent of lost souls to interrupt the homunculus's Grand Theft Me on Ed, tells it off, and then strolls off into oblivion as Ed takes the opportunity to crush Pride's head. The man's got class.
Used repeatedly on Umineko no Naku Koro ni, throughout the series, although obviously none of them stick (from the audience perspective anyways). Also used at least once in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni with Rika in the Shion arc, though there even she wasn't expecting it to stick.
Rosa's stand against the army of Goatmen in the second arc. Made even more awesome in that anime by the fact that she wasn't forced to take a final stand (in the Visual Novel she broke her ankle and had to stay), but chose to.
Mirai Nikki: There's no doubt about Akise's badass status when in chapter 51 despite having just been stabbed by Yuno and sliced across the throat, he gets back up out of sheer determination and texts an important message to Yukiteru even though Yuno ends up cutting off his head completely.
Captain Falcon in F-Zero: GP Legenddefinitely gets one of these. FALCON PUNCHHHHH!!!
Joe "The Condor" Asakura in Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. When told that thanks to a terminal sickness he had ten days left to live, he rushed into Galactor's HQ and fought them, then saved the world from destruction before he died at the feet of his teammates.
Speed Grapher: Despite being the Big Bad, Suitengu goes out of his way to save the hero, then blows up the world economy.
RahXephon: Kunugi pulls this off in episode 23 against a dolem controlled by Kuki. He arms a device that can create a second Tokyo Jupiter around Nirai-Kanai.
Kaiser's death in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. He quadruples the attack points of his greatest monster, and despite his losing the duel, snaps Protagonist Judai out of his Heroic BSOD, something that three other Heroic Sacrifices had failed to do previously.
Guld Goa-Bowman in Macross Plus. After realizing that he was the one who assaulted Myung, Guld sacrifices himself to stop the Ghost unmanned fighter, by cutting out the limiter on the YF-21 and ramming it at such speed that in the movie version, we see his head explode from the G-force.
Mikhail Blanche of Macross Frontier went out like a man. In order to save the woman he loves from being killed while he was vulnerable he charged into the enemy Vajira and got impaled, he then proceeded to open up a Can of More Dakka on the enemy while chocking on his own blood and was finally able to admit his feelings to the woman he loved before he succumbed to his wounds and was sucked out into open space.
Kirschwasser gets one in the Xenosaga anime, when she stays behind on the crashing space station Merkabah to make sure it falls apart and burns up in the atmosphere, preventing a global catastrophe. With a massive Tear Jerker song playing in the background. "Although the darkness may prevail..."
Also, almost immediately thereafter, KOS-MOS subverts this trope beautifully by saving the heroes' spaceship from disintegration in a manner awesome enough for ten death scenes... and surviving. Which makes it even more awesome.
After Shizuru takes out Yukino's Child in Mai-HiME, condemning Haruka to destruction, Haruka takes one last chance to headbutt her in the face for everything she's done.
Natsuki goes fight Shizuru, gives her a Cooldown Hug and a little speech that calms her down...and then commands her Child to destroy Shizuru's, fully knowing that since they're each other's Most Valuable Persons, they will go down together.
Uchuu Senkan Yamato. In 'Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato', a giant space fortress assaults the surface of the Earth with ferocious energy blasts. With the Earth Defense Forces wiped out and most of Yamato's crew dead or evacuated, Kodai seeks advice from the spirit of Captain Okita and, surrounded by the spirits of the dead or still living crew, pilots the Yamato into a collision course with the Comet Empire ship to end the movie.
The recent live-action movie ends in an almost identical way: the Wave Motion Gun's muzzle is jammed so firing it will blow up the Yamato. After evacuating the ship's remaining crew, Kodai stays behind on the bridge and does a Self Destructive Charge at the Gamilas Meteor Bomb, finally firing the WMG that blows them both out of the sky while the old Yamato Overture from the original anime's first season plays in the background.
Iwasawa plays her last song, the summation of everything she ever wanted to say and do, and disappears.
And then there's how Otanashi died in real life. A rather horrible train wreck leaves him and multiple other passengers trapped in a tunnel, and many are injured pretty badly. Despite having some serious internal injuries himself and severely limited resources, Otanashi, being fresh out of medical school, steps up and uses what he learned to keep the rest of the passengers alive for a week. Then, once he's reached his limit, he, as his final act, fills out a card to become an organ donor, in hopes that, should he not make it, he'd still be able to save someone's life, which inspires the others to do the same. When help finally arrives, he succumbs to his injuries and dies.
The Reveal at the end of the series turns this into one of the most powerful series-encompassing Dying Moment of Awesome. "You gave me your heart." Which means that after his death, his heart is what allowed Kanade aka "Angel" to live a little longer, then setting almost everything in the series since her Ghostly Goal was to find whoever did such a kind act for her... Also one of the biggest tearjerkers of all time.
Musashi in Getter Robo gets one in every single alternate version he is. In the manga and in the beginning of Shin Getter VS Neo Getter, he pilots the Getter Robo in its three forms alone and fights the entire Dinosaur Army, and when the titular robot can no longer take it, he makes it pull out its reactor and make it blow up, pulverizing him and the rest of his enemies. In the 70's animated series, he pilots one of the aircrafts with a bomb strapped to it, and crash it in the core of the Dinosaur Army base. While sustaining heavy fire and piloting through narrower and narrower corridors.
In The Twelve Kingdoms we have a teenage girl named Rangyaku huddled in a corner, shivering as she mentally begs her Action Girl friend Youshi (actually the Queen of Kei, Youko, in disguise) to help the Kei kingdom before she's stabbed to death. Not very awesome, you say? Think twice. When Yoshi/Youko arrives and finds Rangyaku's corpse, she sees that she hid something among her clothes... The Seal of Kei, which is vital whenever she needs to show her authority. So the poor girl couldn't fight her killers back, but managed to protect something that the heroine of the story cannot act with in the end.
We later meet another lady who died even more awesomely: Ribi, one of King Shoryuu's counselors. She and the "Sacred beast" Enki have been captured by the enemy and are forced to wear magical red cords that react to one another: if one tries to take their cord off, it'll create a fatal backlash that will kill him/her. For worse, Enki's cord actually sealshis beastly powers, making him completely helpless. What does Ribi do? As soon as she and Enki are alone, she cuts off Enki's cord herself, clearly knowing that she will be hit and killed by the backlash. And yup, Ribi has her head sliced in half and dies, but Enki is released and escapes from their prision.
In the last episode of Gungrave when the dying Brandon Heat and Harry Macdowell went into an all out fight with Millennion's forces. Even with the odds against them, they still put up a massive fight only for them to kill each other in the end.
Urabe sacrifices himself to save Lelouch (and from Rolo, one may add.)
Shin Angyo Onshi's protagonist Munsu has this at the very end. It really has to be seen to be believed. Missing an arm, he finally confronts the Physical GodBig Bad Aji Tae. Aji Tae subsequently decides to take Munsus other arm and an eye. All that does is make Munsu taunt Aji Tae to try and crush his heart and continuing to walk towards him. Aji Tae, who was previously presented as by far the most powerful being in the story, nearly shits himself in fear until he notices Munsu has finally died. Still standing, staring at Aji Tae. The relief doesn't last long, as a very angry Sando attacks Aji Tae from behind. Now, Aji Tae would have vaporized her, except, the dead Munsu is standing on his cape, preventing him from turning around fast enough.
Jonathan Joestar from Part I of Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure is ultimately slain by Dio Brando, but he doesn't go down easily. After Dio pierces his throat, Jonathan uses the last faint Ripple in his body to cause the ship they are on to explode. Then he uses his own body to shield Erina from incoming shrapnel. Finally, when Dio desperately tries to claim Jonathan's body, Jonathan rips out shrapnel from his back and stabs Dio with it, giving Erina the opportunity to escape. He dies Peaceful in Death, secure in the knowledge that Erina will survive while hugging Dio, whom he always considered a brother.
Elder Jang-Il Jeong from the the Manhwa series, The Breaker :New Waves, he shields the main character, Shi-Woon, from a bomb blast with his body. Elder Jeong is Only Mostly Dead but everyone thinks he is prompting Shi-Woon to go into a Unstoppable Rage while his own injuries get worst in the fighting. Just as Shi-Woon is close to killing himself against his opponent and no one can reach him, Elder Jeong springs up to restrain and talk him down and in the end impart the last of his strength so that Shi-Woon's body could recover from the damage he took in the fight knowing it was the only thing keeping him alive.
And more along that line, Pre-Crisis Supergirl. She managed to bust the armor of a heretofore-untouchable universe-eating dark god, though he took her out soon after, she still managed to force it to flee into the darker corners of the multiverse.
Skurge the Executioner's last stand against the forces of Hela in Thor # 362. This one is particularly notable in that unlike everyone else in this section, he actually stayed dead. (Though his after-death exploits eventually moved him from Hel to Valhalla.)
"They sing no songs in Hel, nor do they celebrate heroes... ...For silent is that dismal realm and cheerless... ...But the story of the Gjallerbru and the god who defended it is whispered across the nine worlds... ...And when a new arrival asks about the one to whom even Hela bows her head... ...The answer is always the same... He stood alone at Gjallerbru...
Colossus: After a years-long Trauma Conga Line, injected himself with a vaccine for the Legacy Virus which he knew would kill him, but cure everyone else on Earth infected with the disease.
Magneto: After a trip through the Heel-Face Revolving Door and a Treacherous Advisor stabbing him in the back, simultaneously shut down every nuclear weapon on board his orbital base before it could detonate and guided said base to burn up in the Earth's atmosphere with himself and some loyal Acolytes on board, while at the same time sending Xavier a telepathic Final Speech.
Harry Leland of the Hellfire Club, having suffered a heart attack in a joint Hellfire and X-Men battle against Nimrod, Sentinel from the Future, used his last energy to drop Sebastian Shaw on Nimrod. Wolverine commented, "Fat man had his faults ... but he made his exit with style."
Nightcrawler in the Second Coming arc. He bamfs in around Bastion's arm, keeping him from killing Hope, then teleports halfway across the country (in every other instance about five miles has been his range limit) on the strength from a single whispered prayer. He then dumps Hope right at Cyclops' feet, Bastion's arm still sticking from his chest, and only allows himself to die once he knows Hope is safe.
Pyro, a frequent Brotherhood mook and antagonist to the X-Men, went out rescuing Senator Kelly from an assassination attempt while in the process of dying from the legacy virus. He tore through his former compatriots like a knife through butter, and succumbed to the legacy virus in the senator's arms, begging him to change his views on human-mutant relations to prevent an upcoming war. It worked. Unfortunately, Kelly was assassinated shortly later by a group of humans for changing his stance towards mutants.
Thor # 343: Eilif the Lost, last survivor of a Viking Lost Colony, aided Thor against a dragon Mjolnir couldn't harm. Wounded, feeling his energy failing, he climbed to a position above the dragon and dived onto it with his spear. "The son... of Odin... must not... perish... because Eilif... failed in his duty!" Eilif didn't realize it, but Odin had earlier put a special blessing on the spear, and it pierced the dragon's hide. Then Thor hammered it into the heart.
"Eilif! Eilif! Has the life fled your shattered body? Can you no longer hear even the voices of the gods?"
For a fry cook from Oklahoma, Bill, Born of Bills went out like a badass. Not only did he manage to reveal a plot against the Aesir to Balder with his dying breath, he got the chance to save the prince from a sneak shot with the last of his strength in the same scene. And then he got a Viking funeral. Given by fucking gods.
He was last seen eating with the honored fallen in Valhalla (asking if there was any mayo). And, very recently, greeting the love of his life when she joined him there.
Through much of his history, Eddie Bloomberg, aka Kid Devil had been an underdog, often feeling incompetent and afraid that he wasn't good enough for the Teen Titans, who had become his surrogate family. Things got better after he got a new power and changed his name to Red Devil, but got worse again once he lost his powers. Did that stop him from being the hero he dreamed of becoming? No. During an attack and jailbreak on the city caused by the new Fearsome Five, Eddie saved all of San Fransisco by taking a dying metahuman who would blow up like a nuke on board the Titans jet and flying it high above Earth where they detonated safely. Most Titans' deaths have been pretty lame, but Eddie went out doing the most heroic thing he'd ever done in his life, finally realizing his dream.
During Grant Morrison's run on Justice League of America, the story envisioned a dark future where Darkseid had taken over Earth. Third-tier hero Aztek was a survivor, and in a last-ditch effort, was sent to shut down the slave device power generators Darkseid had built on the moon. Surrounded and beaten, he whispered to his dying teammate: My armor's powered by a four-dimensional battery, yeah? The only thing that stops the energy from erupting into 3-D space with a destructive force greater than any weapon known on Earth... is a little fader switch on my belt. And guess what I just did.And boom went the moon.
Captain Marvel in Kingdom Come managed to end the Metahuman war and gave the Metahumans a chance of survival in one Crowning Moment of Awesome by grabbing a huge bomb flying towards the battle and detonate it high over the ground with his magic lightning bolts.
Captain Marvel:Shazam! Shazam! SHAZAAM!
A rare villainous example with The Joker in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Who, after being crippled by Batman, SNAPS HIS OWN NECK BY TWISTING IT AROUND to frame his nemesis, and then dies laughing.
Batman then invokes this trope by fighting Superman to a standstill before dying of a heart attack.
G.I. Joe. Yes, in the comics, Joes die. During the second invasion of Cobra Island a sabotage team sets the bombs around the aircraft destroying device. Flash and Mainframe are separated and held at gunpoint. "Mission accomplished." they growl to the Cobra soldiers. BOOM. You won't see that in the cartoons.
Admittedly, it wasn't glorious, or flashy, but Steve Rogers' death during Civil War definitely counts. He died pushing someone else out of the way of a bullet—sure, the first bullet didn't kill him, but the Heroic Sacrifice after all that he had been through lately, just because he still cared about America and the people in it...
During the Avengers Disassembled story arc Hawkeye's quiver of explosive arrows was hit and set on fire. He then grabs a near by Kree solder and rides his jet pack into the Kree battleship's engine taking it out with him.
Hawkeye: NOT LIKE THIS! NOT LIKE THIS! LIKE THIS!
Johnny Storm's demise. He stayed behind in the Negative Zone to keep the portal sealed off. As Annihlus' army came down upon him, Johnny gave one of the most badass Last Stand's in comic history:
Human Torch: "A billion to one? You think I'm afraid of that? YOU THINK I'M AFRAID OF THAT?! FLAME ON!"
The current page image, from DC: The New Frontier. Yes, that is a Badass Normal jumping into a T-Rex's mouth with a live hand grenade in each hand, and it is awesome.
The death of Ultimate Spiderman in the aptly named "The Death of Spider-man" arc certainly applies. For starters he jumps in front of a bullet for Captain America without a moment's thought, shows up to fight the Sinister Six still wounded and doesn't stop fighting until he's taken them all out and uses his last ounce of strength to hit the Green Goblin with a semi-truck to protect Aunt May.
The character may be an extremely minor one, but an issue of Daredevil gives a mobster a great DMOA. He delivers an epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech to his former boss The Kingpin (who is holding him at gunpoint), the final words of which are "L'chaim, fatass!"
Thor's death in Fear Itself. He takes out the Serpent and stops Ragnarok.
Adult Loki: No, I will change - Kid Loki: No, of course you won't. They won't let you. I played and won. I changed. You're just being yourself, as always. I won and you lost. Never forget it. I win.
In Amazing Spider-Man #700, Peter is trapped in Otto Octavious's dying body, and had attempted to undo the Grand Theft Me Otto pulled on him, but it backfired, and Otto is prepared to finish him off. However, both of them simultaneously have a memory of Uncle Ben, and Peter realises that the Octobot that he tried to switch minds with has given him a link to Otto's mind, and uses it to his advantage, bombarding Otto with memories of Peter's trials and tribulations. Otto finally understands that with Peter's great power Comes Great Responsibility, and promises Peter that he'll protect his friends and family, and continue Spider-Man's legacy. Peter finally expires, but he had left his world not to a villain, but to the Superior Spider-Man.
Transmetropolitan: Fred Christ leads a group of Transients in a public protest against a massive crush of police. One of them promptly informs Fred that there are no cameras - nobody is watching. Fred briefly goes silent, realizing that he and the rest of the group are dead, and then gives a simple reply: "Rush them!" He leads the charge, and is first to fall.
Damian Wayne's death. He entered the Batman franchise a whiny murderous entitled brat and exits it as true a hero as any other member of the Bat-family. He puts up a valiant but futile fight against his own monstrous clone Heretic to protect a girl. Damian refuses to give up even after being riddled with bullets and arrows and having his back broken by Heretic. Right to the very end, up to the moment Heretic impales him with a sword, Damian also tries to reach out to his mother Talia one last time. Damian was raised to be a tyrant but died a hero.
In the final issue of Godzilla Ongoing, Boxer throws himself into Godzilla's mouth.
Manitou Raven's death in the middle of Justice League Elite. In the middle of a mission that's gone south, he literally sees Death (in the form of the Black Racer) coming for his buddy Major Disaster, whose usually-formidable powers happen to be crapping out because of his alcoholism. Manitou doesn't even hesitate. He uses his magic word to turn into a giant and takes the full brunt of the Black Racer's attack.
Considering Xadhoom was a walking CHARACTER of awesome,her death could only be just as epic.After saving her people,who had been enslaved for years by the Evronians,with the help of Paperinik and Xari,they realize they'll need a new planet to settle on,since the closest one is too poor of energy to live on.So Xadhoom(who is basically a star in humanoid form)kill herself to become a sun and assure her people's survival.And yet she still menages to be awesome after her death.
The protagonist I Did Not Want To Die sacrifices himself to save his comrades from pursuing enemy soldiers after he is mortally wounded. He manages to kill a good dozen opponents before he is finally taken down, and he still has one grenade left...
Downfall gives us this in the second battle of the Rukongaki. Renji, Rukia, and Kien are faceing off against Aaroniero, wearing Miyako Shiba's face. One by one they fall, wounded, until it's just Rukia and the abomination. Rukia is dieing, bleeding out, covered in horrific burns and demoralized with guilt. How dose she go out? Driveing a sword through his skull, and becomes the first Soul Reaper to kill an Espada in the course of the war.
In Broken Bow, Armani willingly allowing his entire being to be erased to save the world from becoming a literal hell because a breach in the walls of reality that was anchored on his blood was going to bring in the most powerful forces of horror from every universe ever... Yeah, I'd say that qualifies.
He just got knocked into Artemis Fowl's universe, and got back... eventually. He did have to steal the crown jewels to do it.
In Team 8, Itachi is forcing Kurenai to watch her greatest fear via Tsukiyomi: her students getting lynched for being associated with Naruto and the Kyuubi. She breaks free by forcing the situation into its logical outcome (Naruto going on a berserk rampage and killing everybody). The illusion is too much for Itachi to hold, meaning Kurenai broke free of the Mind Rape through sheer will (although it should be mentioned that this is not how Tsukuyomi works in canon). Unfortunately, Itachi immediately realizes what a threat she is if she can resist Tsukiyomi and promptly throws a kunai into her skull.
In Divine Blood Hild, weakened by the crash of Nidhog, still manages to destroy several demonic mecha stated as being weapons the equal of a fully powered category 1 demon along with several big name demons among the released criminals and rebels. Eventually, she obliterates an approximately two mile radius of Nifelheim. The rebels, stalk forward to confirm she died in that blast and are on the point of celebrating their victory when she manages enough energy to look at them all and say "Boo." before her life gives out. This is enough to trigger a stampede away from her in which some demons are implied to be at least injured in the press to flee. It is later stated that she took out half of the enemy forces this way.
On top of this, she died on her feet, being an example of a "standing death". Expending so much energy and putting so much strain on herself that she went into rigor mortis in the last moments of life.
Duncan gets one in Dragon Age The Crown Of Thorns. When he and the DN get cornered in Ostagar, not only does he haul the protagonist off the fortress's ledge and shield him with his body from the fall, smashing his back (and ending up paralyzed and with bad internal injuries) in the process but, later, after said dwarven noble carries him away from the battle (and Duncan had been telling him to leave him behind), Duncan pushes him out of the way of a blight wolf's sneak attack and takes it himself. And he still survives enough to tell him that only Grey Wardens ca kill Archdemons, although he doesn't manage to explain why and how it's done.
Takato from the Tamers Forever Series has an absolutely EPIC one. He takes on a hoard of Mega level digimon, even though his clothes are soaked in his own blood and he is almost paralyzed due to his brain cells slowly dying off.
According to a Hellsing / Cthulhutech crossover entitled Old Blood Integra had a particuarly awesome one, being killed at the age of eighty-six after forcing her way into the command centre of the Nazzadi during the initial siege via just telling them to bring her there and then killing the top three officers on the scene with a sword hidden in her cane. Her body was later cremated and half the ashes were mixed with nerve gas used in an attack that took out over ten thousand Nazzadi. As one commenter put it, "Sir Integral Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing. She died as she lived. That is all that needs to be noted."
In Ace Combat The Equestrian War, Blueberry fought against four griffin soldiers and managed to defeat one of them, refusing to surrender, before being killed, as reported by Flare Star. Her team recovered Blueberry's body from the battlefield and brought it to the Canterlot Castle so they could give their honors.
During the "Origins" arc of the Pony POV Series, Mimic pulls a You Shall Not Pass on Discord in order to give Celestia, Luna, and their allies time to escape. After triggering a Villainous Breakdown in him by explaining that the rainbow bridge between Ponyland and Earth has been destroyed (thus denying him the chance to torture humanity when he's done with the ponies), she proceeds to kick him in the face several thousand times at the speed of sound, which proves he's not as Nigh Invulnerable as he appeared, as she manages to permanently knock out his tooth, which is what pisses him off enough to finally kill her. For bonus points, she was Celestia and Luna's mortal mother, so this was her going Mama Bear on his flank.
The Dark World arc reveals that the Epilogue timeline version of Cadence went out with a bang. When Discord and his enforcers — the discorded Mane Six — launched a final assault on her, she bought time for her subjects to escape by taking them all on. And she wins — she actually manages to scare Discord off, and defeats all six of the corrupted ponies, even managing to purify Twilight in the process. Unfortunately, Discord chooses that moment to return and literally stab her in the back, before disintegrating her. Then to top that, her spirit returns five hundred years later and redeems Twilight.
Surprisingly, Dark World Discord gets one. His last act before dying is to convince Twilight to perform the Memory Spell on him, allowing her to see his memories of the "Groundhog Day" Loop he's been trapped in. This ends up Out GambittingNightmare Paradox's plans and exposing them to the Elements of Harmony, which allows them to break free of her influence and fight her.
In the early loops of Dark World, including the first, Apple Pie died in a Heroic Sacrifice, distracting Discord so Twilight's plan to reset time could work, managing to break his horn off before being brutally murdered by the enraged tyrant. Unfortunately, that Twilight was the one who became Nightmare Paradox, causing her to turn it into a Senseless Sacrifice.
Another early Dark World loop, apparently involving Trixie becoming an Alicorn, had her, presumably before being killed, managing an attack on Nightmare Paradox's face, leaving a Wound That Will Not Heal on her face in the shape of Trixie's cutie mark, requiring Paradox to weak a White Mask of Doom from then on, regardless of how many loops it's been since then.
The climax of the Shining Armor Arc has several: (all of which are undone by Cosmic Retcon at the end)
In the actual Final Battle, Gilda is mortally wounded by Makarov, but just before dying she uses the last of her strength to destroy his Iron Curtain, thus allowing the Wolf to defeat him (thus triggering the above Cosmic Retcon).
In Part 1 of Clash of the Elements, even though Zeno Blaze is the last to die against Joe Dark, he goes out not only performing a Shut Up, Hannibal! to him, but summoning a large pillar of flame against him even though he knew it wouldn't harm him.
Alex Whiter's Heroic Sacrifice against Chaos Alex
In Naruto and the Last Vampiress, Naruto pulls something like this off, stabbing Shukaku's Tailed Beast Ball with the White Chakra Blade, saving Sasuke. Anko turned him into a Hanyou after this, but it was his human death
In Harry Potter and the Altered World, most of the people who died in the bad future before Harry timetravled and altered the time stream immensely, among the best examples are Luna, who had her soul removed by a Dementor, saving several lives including Susan, and Neville, who died holding off purebloods to allow Harry to time travel. Its also said that this future was caused by Purebloods taking Voldemort's canon death as this trope.
In The Things We Leave Behind, Twilight Sparkle dies saving Ponyville from an Ursa Major, unleashed on the town by a vengeful Trixie. Specifically, she casts an age reversal spell to reduce it to an infant, using up so much of her magic in the process that she has to resort to drawing power from her Life Force to continue. She never stops until Ponyville is safe.
Might Gai in A Growing Affection. He and Kisame have kept "switching hands", until Kisame breaks out his six tails cloak (in this fic he is host of the Seven-Tails). After flashing back to explaining to Lee how it works, Gai opens the Gate of Death, and proceeds to curb stomp Kisame. Kisame starts to unleash the full power of the Seven-Tails, but Gai says he would like to let Kisame do that, but he doesn't have enough time left. So he kills Kisame mid transformation. Then Gai fades out too, but as he goes, he has visions of what his life could have been.
Death Note Equestria has one that's sadly offscreen: When Mer tried to coerce the Apple family into becoming the Third Kira, Granny Smith refused to let her grandchildren become killers. As AJ puts it, she stared down a God of Death and said no. This got her killed, but it's still awesome nonetheless.
Klaus gets in the finale of the Jill Gilbert Saga, he takes a stand against the Balcoin Circle, who easy defeat him, but succeeds in distracting them long enough for Jill to kill one of them and save the world.
The Mission Stays The Same gives one to the Eldar civilization that inhabited the Mass Effect universe many cycles ago; the Reapers felt that they were developing along lines that would threaten the cycle, so they sent a small fleet to harvest the Eldar (at that time in the middle of their industrial age). The fleet never returned, so a larger fleet was sent. The Eldar had managed to defeat the first fleet and advance their tech level considerably and their psychic powers allow them to No Sell the Reapers' attempts at Indoctrination. The losses inflicted on the Reapers was such that Harbinger opted to exterminate the entire Eldar race, as harvesting them wouldn't be worth it. The Eldar gave the Reapers one last "Fuck you" before dying when they poured their psychic powers into the system's star, causing it to go nova and wipe out all trace of Eldar civilization and quite a few Reapers.
The God Empress Of Ponykind: Commander Icewind, wounded and cut off, charges right into the heart of King Sombra's forces in order to buy time for Fell-Hoof to get word to their allies, killing many before he is overwhelmed. When Sombra tries to scavenge his armor to reverse-engineer it, the Self Destruct Rune activates, blowing up the entire Plaza.
Dawn Sparkle duels Nightmare Moon in single combat during the Siege of Manehattan. She's just a normal pony versus a Mad God, and she manages to land a few hits before being cut down. Sadly this is all offscreen.
Remember how Pain stated that if Jiraiya knew his secret from the start he probably would have won? One Naruto fanfic proves it. Jiraiya has more information on Pain (due to Konan psuedo-defecting) and figures out where the real Nagato is much faster. He destroys six of Pain's bodies and would have killed Nagato as well if not for Tobi warping himself and Nagato away. Even better his death activates a scroll he hid away earlier, releasing Itachi's Amaterasu that he'd sealed away years ago, burning down Pain's base in Ame.
In A New Order this is the fate of Shadow Warrior Tethys. After pushing the senshi farther than any enemy before (in a fic where Sailor Moon repeatedly one-shots youma) she calls up a huge mass of water that would have swamped the cruise ship they were on, had not Mercury and Moon teamed up to take her out with two brand-new spells. They both pass out almost immediately after, meaning the senshi would have been in trouble if she had survived that, too.
Gandalf the Grey gets this in the Mines of Moria, facing off against the Balrog in the trope-namingYou Shall Not Pass moment, falling down thousands of feet while battling the creature in midair, lands in a giant underground lake, gradually fights the Balrog up the Endless Stair to the top of Mt. Celebdil, finishes the beast off, and finally passes out from his wounds. He does come back later as Gandalf the White, sort of offsetting this trope. Oh, yeah, the battle, from the confrontation at the bridge to both Gandalf and the Balrog dying lasted Eight days.
Also, Boromir, protecting Merry and Pippin until he is overwhelmed by orcs. It happens "off-screen" in the books, but shown in all its poignant awesomeness in the movie. In retrospect, being portrayed by Sean Bean increases both your chances of death and of it being an awesome death —he's had a LOT of practice doing both.
The Spartans in the battle of Thermopylae, as dramatized in 300. Notably, one of Leonidas's final actions is to hurl a spear at Xerxes, the Persian "God-King", nicking Xerxes's cheek and proving his claim that "even a God-King can bleed."
Here's the perspective: It's the final battle of the movie as all remaining human forces on Earth are mounting one last assault upon the no-longer-shielded alien ships. By the end of the battle, all missiles of the flight of F-18s fighting over Area 51 have been fired, and they barely made a dent against the ship. The ship is preparing to use its Wave Motion Gun on Area 51, wherein lie a huge amount of civilian refugees from the decimated West Coast. Casse has the last missile in the entire flight of jets, and just when the time comes for him to disable the gun using it, he finds it's jammed. So Casse then opts to fly the damn missile RIGHT INTO THE GUN ITSELF.
Also: "In the words of my generation: Up. Youuuuuuuurs!!"
Jack Sparrow: "'Ello beastie." Sure, Jack didn't stay dead, but it still counts. Best part being that he'd just gotten halfway through the process of saving himself anyways, and simply ran out of time; he'd only bought himself the ability to look his death in the face and charge.
Also James Norrington in the next movie: When asked by Davy Jones if he's afraid of death, Norrington stabs the monster and dies. Jones takes that as a no.
Becket's death could be viewed as this. He calmly turns and walks down the stairs (as they are exploding behind him), casually trailing his hand along the railing, before coming to a stop, looking at the camera and accepting death. Most seem to see this as Becket being in denial over what has happened and is happening.
Jones perishes in the middle of a massive whirpool battle while doing a Kick the Dog all round.
George Kirk's death at the beginning of Star Trek.
Christopher Pike: Your father was captain of a starship for 12 minutes. He saved 800 lives, including your mother's...and yours. I dare you to do better.
The sequel has Kirk switch places with Spock in saving the crew by going into the warp core in order to get it working again. What's awesome is that Scotty said the radiation would kill him before he could make the climb; not only did Kirk make the climb, but he kept on going until the damn thing was fixed. And then had enough steam to crawl back to the door again. It may have copied Spock's death in Wrath of Khan, and it may not have lasted, but every fan can agree that Kirk finally got a death worthy of him.
Spock's death in Wrath of Khan. The Enterprise has disabled the Reliant commanded by Kirk's nemesis, Khan within the Mutara Nebula. Khan activates the Genesis Device he stole which will consume everything around it at the speed of light, and the warp engines are offline. Spock leaves the bridge, heads down to main engineering and opens up the warp core while it's still in operation. He then realigns the dilithium crystals by hand while enduring a column of face-melting warp plasma erupting from the open reactor.
Khan's own death was nothing to sneeze at either. Even after being horribly injured, with his ship inoperable and his entire crew dead, he still managed to activate the Genesis device in a last-ditch effort to destroy theEnterprise. Granted, it didn't work, for reasons explained above, but his utter, maniacal defiance in the face of total defeat was undeniably Bad Ass.
In Serenity, Book's destruction of the ship that destroyed Haven. Though the shepherd himself would beg to differ on just how awesome his act of self-defense (does it count as awesome if his last act was failing to live up to his own ideals?).
YES. Fridge Brilliance kicks in that if he hadn't shot that gunship down, Serenity would have flown into a burning town and a fully functioning gunship ready to shoot them out of the sky.
Hollis Mason's death from the film version of Watchmen, which was cut from the theatrical release.
From Neil Marshall's Dog Soldiers, as one of the soldiers is staring a werewolf in the face, about to be eaten.
"I hope I give you the shits."
It gets even better than that line; Spoon (the soldier) is attacked by the werewolf, and he fights back. Starting with kicking the werewolf in the face, and ending with bashing it with kitchen utensils. The only reason he loses is because another werewolf shows up and blindsides him.
There's also Joe's death: with the other soldiers providing a distraction, he runs into a nearby shed and hotwires a car so they can escape. However, as he pulls up to the house, he realizes there's a werewolf sitting behind him. Rather than panic or try to escape, he grabs a knife and screams in its face while futilely trying to stab it.
In ROTJ, during the Battle of Endor, Green Leader aka Arvel Crynyd's fighter gets shot down. As his ship begins to break apart, the pilot manages to crash it clean through the bridge of the Executor, causing it to lose all control and smash into the Death Star. Not only that, but according to Expanded Universe, after the battle there was an award named after the pilot called the Crynyd Award, given for conspicuous bravery in space combat. The Rebels also named a captured Star Destroyer after the guy.
Private Hudson from Aliens. Spends a good chunk of the ordeal acting like a whiny, fatalistic wanker, but when the aliens finally lay siege to the heroes stronghold, he stands his ground and continues to gun down their attackers even while they drag him to his death.
Also, Vasquez and Gorman. Vazquez is Badass from the get-go, but Gorman has spent most of the movie as The Neidermeyer. When Vazquez is wounded by the aliens, she empties her pistol at them to buy time for the others to get away. Then Gorman crawls back to her. Cut off from escape, Gorman pulls the pin on their last grenade, and they go out together, taking several of the aliens with them.
You always were an asshole, Gorman.
Dillon from Alien³. The Xenormorphs have so far annhilated everyone in their path: engineers, colonists, space marines, Predators, without breaking a sweat. The climax of the film sees Dillon, Ripley and the xenomorph trapped together in a lead mould, but when the humans start to climb out, the xenomorph follows them. So what does Dillon do? He stays in the mould, takes off his glasses, and buys Ripley time to get out. Not just a sacrifice, though... they have a knock-down drag-out fight that lasts an uncomfortably long time, complete with the sounds of punches landing and flesh ripping, and Dillon's smacktalk.
COME ON, YOU MOTHERFUCKER! WHAT, IS THAT ALL YOU GOT?! COME ON!! FIGHT ME!! COME ON!!
Fallon's death in Piranha 3D. He manages to kill more piranha in one scene than the cast has managed in every previous one, by use of an outboard motor. "Chew on this, motherfuckers!"
What makes it even better is that, even as he's being eaten alive, his only thought is to yell at people to get to safety on the shore.
V himself from V for Vendetta, as he takes no less than a bajillion bullets from a group of about 20 bad guys, and then kills them all with his daggers before they can reload. Even better, he announces exactly what he plans to do before he does it. The Big Bad is forced to helplessly watch while being justly subdued himself.
Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy. And ideas are bulletproof.
And he isn't done yet. While he is dying, he manages to back to his explosive - loaded train, confess to Evey that he fell in love with her, died, and went on the one of the most epic funerals ever. To wit, he is cremated by an entire train full of explosives as it hits the Parliament and the entire building goes up in a show of fireworks, all to the tune of Tchaikovsky's 1812 overture in front of practically all London. In respect they all show up wearing his signature Guy Fawkes mask and take it off as the sparks fly.
Seso the knife thrower in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time bravely battles the evil Hassassin knife thrower in order to get the Dagger back, resulting in an epic knife fight. Seso kills his opponent, only to look down and see that he had been struck in the chest by three knives. In his final moment, he grabs the dagger and tosses it out the window of the tower, falling several stories and impaling itself in the wood right next to where Dastan, Amar, and Tamina were waiting for it.
"MADE IT, MA! TOP OF THE WORLD!" - White Heat, James Cagney. His character, Cody Jarrett, is atop a large fuel storage tank and is shot by a police sniper twice. His response is to giggle, shoot the pipes around him, shout the line while the police scurry to safety, and BOOM! Iconic film scene.
Burt's death in Cabin Fever. Last words: "Good night, fucker..."
Donnie Darko, so much so he's laughing his ass off as the jet engine bears down on him.
In the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough, Valentin Zukovsky, who we had gotten to know in Golden Eye, is shot multiple times in the chest by Femme Fatale Elektra King. In his final moments, he shoots the cuffs holding Bond to a chair just to show he is a damn good sport, then dies in a moment of ultimate heroism.
Tony Montana's death in Scarface, with him being completely high on cocaine and taking out a couple of dozen of Sosa's gang members whilst being shot by what seems to be an armory's worth of bullets. "Say hello to my little friend" indeed.
The 2010 Clash of the Titans has Draco performing a Heroic Sacrifice, in order to distract and pin down Medusa so that Perseus can kill her. His Last Words? "Let them know men did this." And then he smiles as Medusa turns him to stone.
In Gladiator,Maximus endures a fatal knife wound long enough to defeat the corrupt Emperor Commodus in combat once and for all.
Nameless, from Zhang Yimou's Hero. After fighting through incredible odds, our protagonist faces the Emperor himself, only to be convinced of the ruler's righteousness. The court convinces the Emperor that nonetheless, Nameless must be executed, and he quietly stands at the palace gates facing thousands of arrows shot his way. His death is not shown, but afterwards the wall is thick with thousands of arrows crowded in against each other except for a single human-shaped bare patch.
"He was executed as a traitor... and buried as a hero"
Made all the more poignant knowing that Nameless could block the arrows if he wished (we saw him do as much earlier in the movie.)
Also, Broken Sword. Calmly letting the Broken Bird you love run you through with her sword certainly qualifies.
The grandmother from Dante's Peak, who voluntarily waded through a lake of acid to haul her trapped family's boat safely to shore. Stupid premise but, damn, even a volcano can't mess with granny!
Double Team: Mickey Rourke's character, standing on a mine that will explode once stepped off, a ferocious tiger approaching him, inside a coliseum filled with mines. What does he do? Step off the mine the second the tiger lunges at him and send the entire coliseum up in flames. It's going out with a bang taken Up to Eleven.
Godzilla, the King of the Monsters himself, gets a pretty awesome one in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, which one can argue is happening throughout the MOVIE as he's in the process of ripping himself apart due to his powers going out of control. Yet he still manages to fight off the military, several mini-Destoroyahs, reunite with his son in Tokyo, then essentially beat Destoroyah more or less to death (even if the Super X-III did technically get in a hit that froze the bastard and cause him to shatter), and withstood massive amounts of freezer weapons- and was in fact burning through most of it, and postuhumously resurrected his dead son by the film's end!
Optimus Prime's continuous deaths in every Transformers continuity begins in 1986 during the G1 continuity, with his greatest moment being in Transformers: The Movie, in which after landing on Earth as the Decepticons are laying seige to Autobot City, he says utters eight words that sets up what is going to be his most epic outing in Generation One.
Optimus: "Megatron must be stopped. No matter the cost."
At which point The Touch begins playing, and Prime plows through three or four Decepticons and comes under fire from a host of others. He launches himself into the air and takes them all out with his rifle, and then confronts Megatron, leading to another of his classic lines, as well as a classic exchange with Megs himself.
Megatron: "Prime!" Optimus:"One shall stand, one shall fall." Megatron: "Why throw away your life so recklessly?" Optimus: "That's a question you should ask yourself, Megatron."
Cue Prime and Megatron having a knock-down drag-out fight where they're throwing everything they have into it because they know it's their final confrontation no matter what. One way or another, this is it. Prime wins, and dies shortly afterwards, and in defeating Megatron, repels the entire Decepticon invasion of Autobot City.
Humorously subverted by one of the characters in Anaconda 4. The giant snake is bearing down on him and bullets won't stop it, so be pulls the pins out of two grenades and screams, expecting the snake to swallow him and explode....but it just slithers away instead, leaving him to explode by himself.
In Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, Wheelie and Brains infiltrate a Decepticon ship during the battle of Chicago and sabotage it, causing it to crash (saving the lives of Bumblebee and other Autobot prisoners in the process). It isn't confirmed if they die, but they don't show up again after that, so...
The novel has them swimming away from the wreck. Also, Skids & Mudflap go out in style against Sentinel Prime in the novelization, the former giving his life to save Bumblebee and the latter charging the villain in a rage and trying to beat him to death, giving the others time to escape, and continuing to attack the Big Bad Bot even as he's disintegrating.
In Starship Troopers during the final stand, after Watkins is gravely injured by a bug, he takes the ticking nuke in his hand and fights off the oncoming swarm of bugs with a single rifle, firing with one hand, as Rico, Carmen, and Ace escape, all the while shouting "YOU WANT MORE!" as the nuke ticks faster and faster and finally explodes, taking him and the rest of the bugs in the cave with him. Also qualifies as a Heroic Sacrifice.
And Theme Music Power-Up since he is able to stop the bugs with short bursts (unlike everyone else in the film who had to expend full clips before one bug even started to go down) while the epic score by Basil Poledouris plays him away.
And then there's the eponymous character of Kill Bill, who after receiving the Five-Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique at the hands of the Bride, takes six steps rather than the five that most people take before dying to the technique.
Daniel Dravot in The Man Who Would be King. After his loyal subjects discover that he's not a god or a devil, but only a man, he and his best friend Peachy are overwhelmed by an angry mob. Faced with certain death, he asks for Peachy's forgiveness, then sets his crown upon his head and walks proudly to his doom, singing The Son of God goes forth to war and yelling mocking encouragement to his executioners.
And immediately previous to this, Billy Fish. Upon being offered a chance to flee on a donkey (the mob wants Dravot and Carnehan, not Billy), he responds, "Gurkha foot soldier, not cavalry! Rifleman Majendra Bahadur Gurung wishing you many good lucks!" and charges into the crowd with his kukri, where he takes out one or two men before dying horribly.
In Battle: Los Angeles, Lieutenant Martinez is badly injured during the highway battle, and the aliens are moving in for their kill with their gun walker. Their attempt to set some C4 as a trap has been ruined by the gun walker's indiscriminate fire, which has destroyed the radio detonator. Martinez then has all of the remaining C4 piled next to him, and when the gun walker gets close to him, he triggers the manual detonator and destroys the walker, taking himself with it.
William Wallace in Braveheart. Having gotten captured by the English, he refuses to swear allegiance to King Edward, and is sentenced to death. As gets tortured throughout a public display, he stays silent until the end, when the executioner grants him the opportunity to speak. Rather than saying "Mercy", Wallace defiantly yells "FREEDOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!", and he gets beheaded.
Upon seemingly dying, SHIELD Agent Phil Coulson in The Avengers not only manages to harm Loki with a BFG, but he also gives a defiant "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the demigod, telling Loki that his plans will fail. On top of that, he suggests to Nick Fury that he's fine with his fate, as it'll give the Avengers — specifically Iron Man & Captain America — that added push to finally work as a cohesive team.
Slightly related, Captain America: The First Avenger gets his own subversion: during his training, a grenade is thrown into the middle the group. Everyone else runs away, but Steve dives onto it, thinking its real (and looking like he fully expected to be blown to smithereens)... only to find out it was not a real grenade.
"Is this a test?"
The unnamed Furyan Necromonger in The Chronicles of Riddick. His last order from the Grand Marshall is to deliver a message to Riddick: 'Stay out of the Necromonger's way, and they will allow you to live'. He finds Riddick on planet Crematoria, sheltering inside a bunker from the intense heat of the sun, and delivers the message. Then he tells Riddick, from one Furyan to another, that he hopes Riddick will ignore the message and continue to fight against the Grand Marshall, and calmly strolls out of the bunker to be incinerated by the Crematorian sun.
They Live! ends with a Dying Moment that changes the world. Nada has finally located the machine which sends a signal that prevents the human race from seeing aliens that have assimilated society. In doing so, Nada finds himself on a rooftop, with guns aimed at him by cops in a helicopter, as well as Holly, a former ally fresh off a Face-Heel Turn. Nada's choice? "Fuck it." He shoots and kills Holly, then fires at the machine, destroying it. Nada is shot dead in the process, and his last act before succumbing to his wounds is to give the helicopter the finger. And with that, humans discover every last alien in their midst.
Pitch Black: Paris. He drinks some wine, then breathes on his lighter to make it flare up, as one last "fuck you" to the creatures before they tear him apart.
Escape Plan: Breslin, Rottmeyer, and Javen manage to slip away during a riot and attempt to reach an exit to the outside of the prison. Before they get too far, Javen gets mortally shot by a guard. He then makes the others leave him behind with their guns, deciding to hold off the guards so the others have a chance at escape. He then proceeds to not only kill several guards, but takes an insane amount to bullets to the chest before going down. And even then, bleeding to death with Breslin about to finish him off, he merely says "God is Great" in Arabic.
Shiro's death from Death Masks, which is also a Tear Jerker. Giving himself to Nicodemus, knowing it would be his death, to save Harry's life. He holds up against the torture of the Denarians and gives his friends key advice to save them.
It gets better as Shiro had basically met Harry a day or two prior to this. Thats right, he sacrifices himself to a horrific fate to protect the man he barely knows (although, having Michael vouch for Harry was probably enough).
And his final act as a Knight was to entrust Harry with his sword to find the right person for it. Harry waited five years before his instincts told him he found the man: Nicodemus himself. By offering him the sword in a deal, it stroked Nicodemus' ego and hit his fear at the Knights always screwing with his plans. It also was the only way Harry was going to save a little girl and the world from Nicodemus' plot. Nicodemus accepts the deal and this action leads to his defeat once more. Harry wondered if Shiro knew this day would come and that action five years ago ended up saving the world now.
Mortally-wounded Carmichael gets one by leaping on the loup-garou's back in Fool Moon, saving Murphy's life.
In Changes after becoming a full vampire, Susan allows herself to be sacrificed by Harry to activate a bloodline curse destroying the Red Court and saving their daughter from their clutches.
Also in Changes Martin played the role of traitor to anger Susan enough so she would kill him and turn into a full vampire and set Harry up to be there so Harry could destroy the Red Court as part of a long gambit.
Dune: Duncan Idaho fits in here somewhere. Ditto Duke Leto.
Duncan Idaho held off the Emperor's Sardaukar, hardened prisoners who survived training on a hellish prison planet, giving time for Paul and Jessica Atreides to escape. As a comparison, a single Sardaukar was considered one of the best soldiers in the Imperium. Duncan killed seventeen, single-handedly. The Sardaukar were suitably impressed, and saved his genetic material to be cloned.
Dr. Yueh. Forced to betray his lord (Duke Leto) to the Harkonnens by their threat to his wife, and backstabbed after his task was done. "You will join her, as I promised" (in death). This was no surprise; his counterplot (implanting a poison gas tooth in the paralyzed Leto) came within a breath of killing Baron Vladimir Harkonnen in the act of gloating.
Moby-Dick: "Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee!" More a Badass Boast, but still...
Also, Jesus Christ. Not only dying for the sins of others, but forgiving those who executed Him. He came back (according to the resurrection), though.
Jesus: Forgive them, they know not what they do.
Not only that, but his death caused the earth to crack, the sky to go dark, a hurricane, and a whole bunch of corpses to start walking around, depending on which gospel you read.
Alongside Jesus are the disciples. Peter, as a "fuck you" to the Romans, asks to get crucified upside down, putting himself above them in power. Paul exercises his right as a Roman citizen to a speedy execution and gets beheaded.
Malazan Book of the Fallen has Anomander Rake, who sacrifices himself to convince the goddess of his people to return by allowing himself to be killed by his own sword so that his spirit enters the Pocket Dimension inside, where said goddess is kept.
The Vong are massive xenophobes, they consider anything not Vong to be evil, wrong, and unworthy of anything but destruction. Some time after this, a character claims to have seen in a vision, a new god was added to the Vong pantheon. Called the Ganner, it is the giant who guards the gates to the afterlife, armed with a blazing sword, above which were etched the words "None Shall Pass"...in the Basic galactic tongue.
Chewbacca's death in Vector Prime, the first novel of the series. Han, Chewie and Anakin Solo were on the planet Sernpidal doing Lando a favor when the still hidden Yuuzhan Vong used a gravity manipulating creature to pull one of the planet's moons out of orbit. As the celestial body spiraled ever closer, Han used the Millennium Falcon to gather as many refugees as possible before taking off. Anakin handed a young child off to Chewbacca and the two made their way back to the Falcon, but Anakin was cracked across the head by a stone kicked up by the storms. Chewbacca looked back after putting the child aboard the Falcon, saw Anakin and raced back for him. He tossed the young man up to the refugees, but the violent atmospheric conditions and the crowding aboard the ship made it impossible for them to get him aboard. At the last moment, the recovered Anakin flew the Falcon away from Sernpidal and Chewbacca's final act was to roar defiantly at the moon as it collided with the planet.
In Feist's Riftwar books, this tends to vary wildly between being played completely straight and subverted as brutally as possible. In Darkness at Sethanon, Roland goes down holding off moredhel pursuers. During the Serpentwar, Jimmy and Gamina die in the explosion the former triggered to take down the enemy army, and in Krondor: The Betrayal, Gorath is killed in his effort to prevent the activation of the Lifestone. Yet on the other end of the spectrum, in the Serpentwar you also have PrinceArutha conDoin dying from a broken hip after falling down the stairs, Owen Greylock being killed by a freak shot from a still loaded crossbow at camp, and in Rides a Dread Legion we have Caleb randomly crushed by a collapsed building and Miranda dying of a torn throat after being snuck up on by a random demon. Plenty of characters (including Arutha, of the above examples) die off-panel or just fade into presumed death by old age as the years pass.
David Gemmell's first novel, Legend, is about an aging warrior who deliberately goes looking for a Dying Moment of Awesome. Druss goes down atop a pile of enemy corpses, killed as much by poison as by his wounds. His last act is to throw his axe to kill the one man who dares to mock him.
Oberyn Martell. Tragic in that he did not realize that it would coincide so swiftly with his death; it seems at first like a plain ol' Crowning Moment of Awesome.
Syrio Forel, while strongly implied, is never explicitly stated to be dead. To give Arya time to escape, he kills or incapacitates five armed soldiers, with a wooden sword and no armour. He still faces a knight of the Kingsguard in full armour, and holds his own until his opponent breaks his stick-sword. We don't see the rest, but in the TV series we hear sounds of serious fighting carry on for some time.
"I am Syrio Forel, and you will now be speaking to me with more respect."
Donal Noye, the one-armed blacksmith who kills THE GODDAMN KING OF GIANTS trying to get through the tunnel through the Wall, blocking it for the rest of the battle, at the cost of his own life. Sadly, we don't get to see exactly what happened, but it was clearly epic.
"If you ever meet a Malkieri, you tell him Jain Farstrider died clean."
None come close to Egwene Al'Vere, the Flame of Tar Valon, the Amyrlin, though: Improvising a new weave which is the antithesis of balefire and using it to destroy some 200 enemy channelers (and (possibly) somewhat stablizing the world that was unraveling from too much balefire).
The Saganami Island Academy, from the Honor Harrington series, is named for Edward Saganami, who attacked several ships he couldn't possibly destroy to give the convoy he was escorting a chance to escape. The records of his final battle are shown at academy graduations, to show the new officers the tradition they're meant to uphold. "Ladies and gentlement - the tradition lives!"
There's also Jack McBryde's death near the end of Torch Of Freedom, taking out Isabelle Bardasano, a crucial Mesan Alignment research facility, and the bulk of the Alignment's security database while ensuring that Anton Zilwicki and Victor Cachat escape with Herlander Simões and his vital information on the Alignment.
And Lara, from the same book: when an assasin releases a neurotoxin gas into the room, she picks up Berry and throws her bodily out into the corridor on the other side of an airtight door, but gets caught in the gas as the door closes. She does her job, and saves her queen, but dies doing it.
From the previous book in that spinoff, Princess Ruth's entire bodyguard detail, though special mention goes to Ahmed Griggs, who after already being fatally wounded, regains consciousness for about thirty seconds, and, dazed, and suffering from serious blood loss, and pain, manages to kill the leader of the attacking group, with his off hand.
No Grayson armsman will settle for anything less. Every time a Grayson armsman dies it is in the line of duty and, often as not, a Heroic Sacrifice to boot.
During the escape from the Tepes, several characters sacrifice themselves in awesome ways, but points go to Andreas Venizoles, a naval officer who decides that the only way to guarantee everyone else makes it out okay is to stop running and cover the retreat, knowing that there will be no escape if he does.
Charles Beckendorf dies in a magical explosion to destroy Kronos' ship, the Princess Andromeda.
Silena Beauregard dies fighting a drakon after bringing the Ares cabin into battle.
Luke Castellan kills himself to destroy Kronos.
Bianca Di Angelo blows up a model of Talos, with her still inside it
Zoe Nightshade takes a blow for Artemis
Arnold J. Rimmer from Last Human by Doug Naylor. Arnold, when he realizes that he's a goner from being mortally wounded, decides to fly into malevolent SHIT-storm, and saves everyone elses life. Which is huge considering his nobility track record.
Major Brant from Stormcaller. One man, no powers, against an army just to buy time for Isak to eradicate with a massive lightning storm. He gets to where Isak is by threatening to kill the court wizards unless they launch him up there. He dies holding off two opponents at once. By being consumed by a massive lightning bolt. Bad Ass.
Colonel Adler was a subversion. After reluctantly following his superior General Lang's orders to abandon a group of civilians to almost certain death, he planned to visit the general in his office and then shoot him, knowing that he would be immediately gunned down. To his frustration, Lang had already killed himself by the time Adler returned.
HMS Thunderchild in The War of the Worlds. Only three Martian warmachines are destroyed in the book, and it is responsible for two. That it has never appeared in any of the movie adaptions of the book is a travesty.
It did in War of the Servers, but I don't think it managed to bring any of the tripods down there...
IIRC, it took down one, and was essential for the escape of the refugees.
It does in Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds. HMS Thunderchild gets Crowning Music of Awesome. However, it only accounts for one Martian.
It also appears in Timothy Hines' 2005 War of the Worlds film, and it actually takes down all three Martian walkers blocking the evacuation route before sinking.
Cohen the Barbarian and The Silver Horde in Terry Pratchett's The Last Hero. When they realize that blowing up the Home Of The Gods will destroy the magic that holds the Discworld together, they get it off the mountain ... the fastest way they can.
And Snape dies performing the crucial act that will show Harry what he has to do to save the entire Wizarding world (giving him his memories).
An often overlooked example: Regulus Black, upon figuring out that Voldemort has created a horcrux, convinces Kreacher to take him to the horcrux cave, drinks every last drop of the poison in the bowl(most likely without aid, a feat even Dumbledore couldn't manage), and is pulled underwater and killed by inferi while yelling for Kreacher to switch the lockets and get out of there. He even leaves a mocking note for Voldemort.
James and Lily Potter, especially Lily who in essence was the whole reason Harry survived to defeat Voldemort.
Harry himself, who is still a child and who in spite of his fear walks toward rather than away from his death, with no knowledge that it won't be final.
King Haarahld Ahrmahk of Safehold got this at the end of the first book, Off Armageddon Reef. In a pitched naval battle, he begins chasing down fleeing enemy ships, knowing they have to make their victory as total as possible. When the last of those ships turns around for a suicide run, Haarahld fights alongside his men, and dies in the act of saving an eleven year old midshipman who was trying to take a crossbow bolt meant for Haarahld. This act makes him a hero to his people and, when a squadron has to make a similar sacrifice in A Mighty Fortress they use "Remember King Haarahld" as their battle cry.
Also in A Mighty Fortress, Hauwerd Wylsynn, knowing the Inquisition is about to move against him and his brother, whose crimes were trying to reform the Corrupt Church, decides it's better to be killed than be tortured to death and fights with the Temple Guardsmen sent to arrest him. He takes down four younger, armed, and armored men before finally being cut down. The Guards who watched the fight knew they would remember it as surely as they would be banned from speaking of it.
The second book, By Schism Rent Asunder, former Archbishop of Charis Erayk Dynnys is facing execution as a scapegoat for Charis' rebellion against Mother Church. He's given the opportunity for a quick and easy death if he will publicly endorse the Church's version of events. To the surprise of many, especially the Inquisition, Dynnys uses his final words to denounce the Church's reasons for attacking Charis for the lies they were. An act of bravery that ultimately caused Dynnys to endure several hours of horrific torture before finally being allowed to die.
In the fifth book another character pulls off a similar moment, having already been brutally tortured and having had his tongue cut out, when asked if he has any last words by the one presiding over his execution, he spits in their face.
Finally, Prince Hektor manages a Dying Moment of Heartwarming in By Heresies Distressed. When he and the Crown Prince, who had until then been Hektor's Unfavorite, are attacked by assassins, Hektor realizes in his very final moments that he does and always did love his son.
Another example from a David Weber book, Crown Prince Janaki Calirath spends over a day constantly seeing a vision of how he was going to die, experiencing the pain of it nearly continually, in order to Glimpse his enemies' plans of attack before they actually happened, and give his side the edge they needed to win. And just before he dies, he still has the presence of mind to throw the only other person on the tower with him out of the way of the griffin that kills him.
Ellidyr, spending most of The Black Cauldron being a grade-A Jerkass all the way up to betraying the heroes, finally realizes the error of his ways... and uses his Redemption Equals Death moment to fight his way past numerous enemies to jump into the titular cauldron, knowing that doing so will kill him but will also break the cauldron and put a stop to one of the Big Bad's most effective weapons.
Paul/Pwyll Twiceborn in Guy Gavriel Kay's The Fionavar Tapestry. He dies after spending several days in agony, crucified in a sacred glade, with what appear to be Odin's ravens tormenting him with his past. He sacrifices himself willingly in place of the King to end a devastating drought, forgives himself for his accidental part in the death of his wife, and finally comes to terms with her death, crying for the first time. He dies in the first rain the land has seen in far too long.
It's arguable that Paul is just the first. Diarmuid, Kevin, Finn, Darien... everybody who dies in here gets an awesome death. Most of them are also Tear Jerker material.
Wulfgar the Barbarian in The Legacy has one of these. He is being bitten by a Yochlol (think 15 foot glob of half melted wax with tentacles and a giant mouth full of large teeth) and is in excruciating pain. Yet, through the pain, he is still smashing the Yochlol with his hammer, and when that doesn't work, he brings the cave ceiling down, killing him and the creature. All this to save the love of his life: Catti-Brie. While singing to his Warrior God, Tempus!
Oh, and before he does, he turns himself into a living metal statue just so that he can charge the Vord lines first. This technique is so difficult that only one other character, himself so badass that it's a wonder he averted this trope himself, ever managed it in the books. Apparently it's also unbearably painful. Oh, and this was after Gaius had spent months being weakened by illness and poison.
Also, High Lord Cereus launches himself into the mouth of a Vordbulk, and blows up its head, saving the last defenders of Alera.
Warrior Poet Bobby Shaftoe (fatally wounded, he still manages to fill an enemy fortress with burning oil, then jumps into it "on an impulse" and spends his last living moments composing a death haiku in his head: "Semper Fidelis / Dawn star flares on disk of night / I fall, sun rises")
Admiral Yamamoto (who is "on fire and hurtling through the jungle at a hundred miles per hour in a chair, closely pursued by tons of flaming junk" when he realizes that the fact of his imminent death can only mean the Americans have cracked the Japanese military codes - and his last thoughts aren't "Oh Shit" but "I must get word out!".
Anton Dubois in A Dirty Job, trapped in his second-hand book store with three Morrigan out for blood:
Anton: Do you remember what a claymore looks like? ... Well, in this time, a claymore means something else.
This is the preferred method of exit for Spartans. A few examples include the Spartan-IIIs Robert and Shane facing down an army of Covenant after their entire company had been killed; Robert is shot in the stomach by a plasma bolt and as it burns through his armor and flesh he fires his rifle dry. By that point he was in full cardiac arrest but still primed and threw a grenade before dropping. Then Shane, all alone, continued to fire carefully and precisely at the advancing enemy before running out of ammo for his assault rifle and switching to his pistol. Kurt-051, their trainer, achieves the best DMA by standing alone against an advancing Covenant army to buy the rest of his Spartans time to make it through a slipspace portal, then detonating two nuclear warheads.
"Fred" the sentient white hole from the Young Wizards universesacrifices himself by blowing his quanta (releasing the energy of several giant blue-white stars all at once) to provide light that the moon can reflect on to the pages of the Book of Night with Moon, the sacred text that has to be read from to counteract the Dark Book and the forces of the Lone Power.
Ed the Master Shark in Book 2, Deep Wizardry, allows the krakens and the Lone Power to kill him and release his blood into the water, calling every shark in the entire ocean to come in a feeding frenzy and in that feeding frenzy rip the Lone Power to shreds. Ed is a calm, businesslike killer who has never been truly loved by anyone, who finally gained friendship with one of the main characters and in doing so gained the motivation to give his life to keep her and millions of other people alive.
Betty Callahan, Nita's mother, does die at the end of A Wizard's Dilemma, but before doing so, thoroughly stomps on the Lone Power and makes It experience every pain, emotional and physical, that she's ever experienced in her entire life.
Ronan would have done this in Wizards At War, only he gets better.
Well ... Roshaun technically pulled one of these also at the end of Wizards At War, but nobody knows if he's dead. Nobody knows where he is, or if he even physically exists anymore. Argh.
Elven Hunter Crispin in The Elfstones Of Shannara. With the rest of his men dead, Crispin holds the Pykon Bridge against The Reaper, while Wil and Amberle, who he is charged with protecting make their escape. The Reaper is an unstoppable killing machine specially bred to be the Demon equivalent of a Serial Killer. It needs to murder on an instinctive level, and on separate occasions waylays and destroys an Elven patrol, and murders twenty soldiers in their beds after breaking into a barracks. Yet Crispin, a Mauve Shirt at best, holds the damn thing off by himself so that his charges can get away, successfully slowing it down in the process. Damn.
What about the death of Garet Jax in The Wishsong Of Shannara? Pretty much the best fighter in the whole world, he has a vision of a creature that would be capable of giving him a real battle. That creature, the Jachyra, actually kills Allanon in the middle of the story, who up to that point has been seen as almost invincible. At that time, Allanon mentions that only magic could destroy the Jachyra. So what does Garet Jax do when he confronts it at the end? Fights it one-on-one and wins, with only his sword and the power of sheer Badassery. And then dies of his wounds immediately after.
Wolf in The Talisman dies by taking out almost the entirety of Sunlight Gardener's institution. There seemed to be no way he would ever be able to leave safely and he was slowly dying, so he took on dozens of guards barehanded and killed them all.
The title character in Damon Runyon's short story "Earthquake" is a very strong criminal who flees to South America after accidentally killing a cop. Tough cop Brannigan tracks him down, but as he is about to arrest him a strong earth tremor shakes the little town and nearly collapses the orphanage. Earthquake props the door-lintel up so that Brannigan can arrange for the survivors to be rescued, but there is no way to get him out. However, he has time to tell Brannigan that he knew what he was doing before he stepped into the breach, and this is his way of making up for killing the cop. Another earth tremor then finishes him off mercifully.
Beowulf goes out in a manner befitting a legendary warrior and epic badass. As an old man (quite some time after his defeats of Grendel and Grendel's mother) his people are menaced by a dragon. Beowulf goes out alone to fight it, and although he ends up needing a little help from one of his warriors, he takes the dragon down. He dies short while after the battle and is buried with the dragon's hoard.
In Matter, this applies to Djan Seriy Anaplian, and her brother Ferbin. Ferbin sacrifices himself to satisfy the Iln's curiosity, so that his sister can get close enough to detonate her implanted antimatter reactor. And this is to stop the Iln from destroying a highly populated Shellworld.
Jean Prouvaire, a quiet poet who liked flowers, was shot shouting, "Long live France! Long live the future!"
In Neuromancer, the Dixie Flatline's construct can't exactly die, being an interactive record of his personality, but it is destroyed during the novel's climax, punching through Tessier-Ashpool's computer defenses. T-A's setup used their shackled AI for security and was explicitly stated to be the best in the world. Breaking an AI's defenses had previously been considered completely impossible for a human "cowboy".
In the final Night Lords novel Void Stalker by Aaron Dembski-Bowden the main character Talos Valcoran dies awesomely. His entire company has been wiped out by the Phoenix Lord Jain Zar and he has accepted that even if he survives, he will die in a few years from gene-seed rejection. He calmly says goodbye to the only other, conscious, survivor and says that their debt is cleared. He then waits for the Phoenix Lord to arrive and as she impales him, he detonates every single grenade he has to kill them both. He perishes in the explosion and Jain Zar is left crippled and completely burnt.
And then Malcharion comes in and steps on her just before he dies himself.
Fingolfin, High-King of the Noldor, challenges Morgoth, God of Evil, to a duel; he manages to wound the bastard seven times before he's beaten down, and as Morgoth steps on him, with his last breath he slices Morgoth's foot so badly that the God of Evil is crippled forever.
Azaghâl the Dwarf-King, who was crushed by Glaurung the Father of Dragons, with his dying breath drove his knife into the dragon's belly and sent him routing off the field in mid-battle; and saved everyone else on his side of the line.
Fëanor, High King of the Noldor, stated in canon to be the single most clever, skilled and strongest elf ever, goes down after routing an army of orcs that caught his troops by surprise and KEEPING them routed essentially alone for hours, after which Morgoth decides enough is enough and sends out the balrogs. Case closed right? WRONG. They STILL can't kill him, even though ALL of the balrogs(not just the measly one that Gandalf fought) are ganging up on him and he is on FIRE. So he has to send out the balrog equivalant of Sauron to kill him..... and he STILL doesn't die, he manages to fight on alone until his son's and their army show up. He dies of full body burns and injuries a few hours later, when his spirit is so fiery that it immolates his corpse on the way out. If thats not a Dying moment of Awesome then I don't know what is.
Finrod Feaguland in an effort to save Beren, breaks free of his bonds and kills a werewolf with his bare hands and teeth.
"Having taken some medicine supplied by his Wicked Aunt and feeling his strength going, he blew a dying blast on his horn and with his dying breath fired a last shot out of his bedroom window, and hit the Sheriff of Nottingham again."
The Master in The End of Time. 'You did this to me! You. Made. Me! One! Two! Three! FOUR!
"Get out of the way."
Also Luke Rattigan in "The Poison Sky." Sure, the Heroic Sacrifice is a horrible cliché (especially for Doctor Who), but even that utter stupidity is not enough to ruin the sheer awesomeness of that final "You Sontarans are so screwed" sneer and that defiant "Sontar-Ha!"
Much of the fandom considers the Fifth Doctor's regeneration story "The Caves of Androzani" as Peter Davison's best story and it was recently voted by Doctor Who Magazine as the best story in the entire run of the series.
'Til death do us part, Harry!
'I did my duty for Queen and Country! (Repeats) Oh God!' Yvonne Hartman just before she walks into a conversion unit. She then does it AGAIN as a Cyberman becoming the first person to resist having their will overridden by the programming, holding off a small army of Cybermen as they try to escape through the rift in a You Shall Not Pass moment.
When River Song finds out the Doctor is planning to sacrifice himself to save thousands, she punches him out, handcuffs him to a wall and wires herself in instead, thus saving all the people and the man she loves. It's a major Tearjerker, not least because at the time, he hasn't got any idea who she is or why she's willing to die for him.
Captain Jack's first death. After trying to stop the Daleks with weapons he knows won't work very well, empties his assault rifle, then he warns the Doctor that time is running out, telling him how long he has left to complete the DIY Superweapon, whilst emptying his totally ineffective revolver into the first Dalek. Afterwards, it says, 'Exterminate' and he sets himself and says this:
I kind of figured that.
Amy and Rory in "The Angels Take Manhattan". They get better, though, only to be allowed a slightly more peaceful future death at the end.
Jericho has Bonnie going down shooting while her home is being invaded. Did I mention she's a deaf teenage girl?
Kor, an aging Klingon warrior first seen in the original series, bordering on the edge of senility, knocks out Worf to take his place, and with just a single damaged Bird of Prey, delays a Jem'Hadar attack force long enough for the rest of the fleet to make it to safety. The emotionally moving performance by John Colicos just seals the deal.
The captain and crew of the Enterprise-C (TNG Yesterday's Enterprise) took on a Romulan task force attacking a lightly-defended Klingon colony. This act was the single reason that the Federation and Klingons avoided a full-scale war and became allies.
Harper's Island has Chloe Carter willingly falling to her death rather than letting serial killer John Wakefield murder her. But not before facing him and saying "You can't have me.
Shane Pierce also managed one, after having been a Jerkass and a coward for most of the series. When Wakefield broke into the bar, Shane faced him down with a pocket knife in order to buy the women with him time to escape. Then, after Wakefield stabs him and dumps his body on the floor, Shane proves to be Not Quite Dead and manages to go after Wakefield one more time, giving Trish enough time to get out along with the others.
The conclusion to the 2 part episode of Star Trek: Voyager entitled "Equinox" has Captain Ransom go down with his ship by piloting it out to space while a hoard of angry aliens attack and destroy it. This also counts as Redemption Equals Death.
Janeway also pulls one off in the climax to Year of Hell when she, as the last person aboard, sets a collision course and rams a crippled Voyager into Anorax's Time Ship. She also hit the reset button on her way so she's alive after time resets, but its still awesome. She even manges to get in a Pre-Mortem One-Liner while staring directly at the Time Ship through the hull breach Anorax blew into the bridge.
Bodie: Yo, this is my corner. I ain't runnin nowhere!
Jo and Ellen Harvelle in Supernatural: Jo is injured too badly to escape, so she and Ellen stay behind to blow up a building full of hellhounds and give the Winchesters a shot at Lucifer. Even if the Colt didn't work, that was still pretty badass.
Ellen:(as a hellhound breathes in her ear) You can go straight back to hell you ugly bitch.
Gabriel's final moments before his death are spent telling Lucifer that God is right: humans are better than them because they try.
Gabriel: You are my brother, and I love you, but you are a great. Big. Bag of dicks.
Bobby's death in "At Death's Door" — having been shot by DickRoman in the previous episode, Bobby lies comatose, stuck in a dream world made up of his memories with the bullet stuck in his brain slowly killing him, while a Reaper chases him. So what does he do? Well, first he traps the Reaper in one of his memories, then proceeds to deliver an epicShut Up, Hannibal! to the memory of his dead, abusivefather, before forcing himself to wake up — with the bullet still in his brain — long enough to pass on some vital information about the Leviathans to Sam and Dean before finally dying.
In Stargate SG-1, when Dr. Janet Frasier is killed in the battlefield while tending to a wounded airman, ultimately saving his life. The same episode had been built up to suggest it was either that random soldier who died or one of the titular four SG-1 characters (Jack O'Neill). Janet dying, after being in the show for so long and having become a fan favorite after having started off as simply 'a necessary character'; and as someone who a lot of people would argue somehow almost always seemed 'safe'; her death was one of the most beautiful and heart breaking in the series for alot of people.
In the same series, Daniel Jackson dies after single-handedly preventing a catastrophe, exposing himself to a lethal dose of radiation in the process. However, this might not quite count, as he isn't really dead; Oma ascended him, and he later comes back to the mortal plane. Three seasons later, he stands up to RepliCarter, who is probing his mind for information, and overpowers her. He knows full well that this only means she will kill him sooner, but he does it anyway. This may not count, either, because he manages to ascend and come back one last time.
Dr. Samantha Carter, in the first Alternate Universe episode:
Samantha Carter: I surrender! I have information that can help Apophis! There is technology he will want to know about! This is a remote control to an interdimensional portal. I can tell Apophis how to find it! Jaffa: Hashak Kreyak! Samantha Carter: [pulling out a grenade] Thank you. Oh yeah. I also wish to blow us all to hell.
In the Stargate Atlantis episode "The Last Man," alternate universe versions of Todd and Ronon get a Dying Moment of Awesome. Todd and Ronon run into each other on separate missions to blow up one of Michael's bases. They get trapped, decided to team up even though they hate each other and take out the base. Even more awesomely, as they are fighting Michael's soliders in their final moments, they dispose of all their enemies and then turn their weapons on each other, saying "Force of habit." In the same episode Sam gets one too. After her ship is crippled, she rams it into the enemy, taking down three Hive ships with her.
In The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Riley's last act before being killed was to brutally and viciously assault Jessie, who had betrayed her and manipulated her all along. She lost the struggle, but for an untrained, terrified teenage girl, it was pretty damned impressive. Derek on the other hand gets shot in the head before he's even has a chance to be awesome by a foe who didn't even stop his stride. Both of these enforced a point the series was trying to make about the Terminators.
One of the best deaths ever on LOST Charlie Pace and "Not Pennys Boat"
Eko's death, staring down the monster defiantly, was this.
And so was Jack's death.
After Juliet survives being dragged into a 50-foot-deep shaft and hit by several huge chunks of metal, she makes a hydrogen bomb go off by hitting its core eight times. She survives that too, but dies shortly afterwards in her beloved's hands, with a smile on her lips. And she calls that bomb a son of a bitch while hitting it.
Repeated by Elena for Matt in the season 3 finale.
Jenna charging at Greta in an attempt to kill her to prevent Klaus from finishing the sacrifice.
George Mason's heroic exit from 24, saving millions including Jack Bauer himself.
During the siege of the White House Bill Buchanan tackles a Mook and fires his gun into the gas filled air. The resulting explosion kills him and most of BenjaminJuma, acts a single for the FBI to storm the building, and gives Jack the chance to move. His actions saved everyone in the building, including The President.
They generally don't stick, but the deaths of major characters in Heroes are often pretty damn awesome. One fan-favorite was the death of future-painter Isaac Mendez, who dies the typical death that all victims of Sylar face, except that it comes after painting his own death, selling and hiding important drawings and paintings of the future, and being CRUCIFIED by his own paintbrushes due to Sylar. His last words involve him mocking Sylar because he arrived too late to get any of Isaac's paintings, with the memorable line "I finally get to be a hero."
It didn't take, but Matt Parkman's momentary death in Volume 5 is also seen as a potential Crowning Moment of Awesome for the series. Sylar's been trapped inside Matt's head for a few episodes now.Sylar's been using this connection to make Matt do his bidding. Eventually Sylar supplants Matt as the primary controller of Matt's body even! This leads up to the climax of the storyline in "Shadowboxing", where Matt realizes that he'd rather be dead than let Sylar continue to terrorize people. He momentarily takes control of his own body to trick Sylar into writing down that he plans to kill everyone in the Burnt Toast Diner. As Matt-Sylar leaves, the owner calls the cops. The cops surround Matt-Sylar in the parking lot. Matt uses one lst bit of telepathy to control his body into acting like it's gonna pull a gun on the cops, forcing them to shoot him to death, ending Sylar's reign of terror...for about half an episode.
Similarly, Tracy Strauss's (not quite) bow out. She's made contact with Micah, the son of her heretofore unknown (and deceased) sister, who's organizing a resistance effort to the government roundup of superpowered individuals. As a strike force descends on their parking garage, she tells Micah to hit the sprinklers and run. When the squad shows up, she cranks her powers up to eleven, and freezes everyone in the garage solid — including herself. She ends up getting shattered soon after, but that's the funny thing about water controllers...
Power Rangers in Space: Just when you think the I Am Spartacus scene in the finale was the bar-none Crowning Moment of Awesome for the series, Zordon's sacrifice shortly afterwords nearly supplants it, convincing Andros to shatter his tube. The resulting wave destroys every monster in the entire universe, bringing peace to everyone...until next season.
Dark Specter has one as well as he SWALLOWS Darkonda after being defeated
Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: Okay, maybe not as cool and universe-wide reaching as Zordon's death, but Kendrix's death stopping Psycho Pink and the Savage Sabre (even though it was written due to Valerie's leukemia) to save Cassie (Space Pink) and her friends/teammates HAS to count as it was the only on-screen Death of a Ranger (like, EVER) in PR that stayed for more than a few episodes (try about half the season) where they HAD to get a new Ranger in order to continue, unlike certain other Ranger 'deaths' (Damn Disney Deaths in the final episodes of RPM).
John Basilone at Iwo Jima in The Pacific. Everything he did leading up to the death was surperbly badass and his actions saved many lives in what bloodbath.
Ka D'Argo, holding the line to the last, in Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars. "I'M YOUR DADDY!"
Also in Farscape, the death of Talyn and Crais at the end of season 3.
In Primeval, Cutter calmly mocks Helen's time- changing scheme: "You know what, Helen? You're not as smart as I thought you were." That she shoots him immediately after just seems to prove him right.
Sergeant Doakes in Dexter. When he realises he's got no way out of the exploding hut, he utters one word: "Motherfuck!"
Felix Gaeta's death from Battlestar Galactica. You can see that for the first time since New Caprica, he is at peace, even though he is staring down the guns of an execution squad.
Detective Roy Montgomery in Castle. It's revealed he's been lying to them since the start about his involvement in whoever it was who killed Beckett's mother. But rather than go down easy he lures four trained killers to one location, tells Beckett almost everything and goes down shooting. His final act is to shoot the last of the four monsters with a concealed derringer.
Mike Franks in NCIS, already dying from some unknown illness, decides he'd rather go out on his own terms when he confronts Jonas Cobb, the Port-to-Port Killer, just outside Gibbs' house. He manages to wound Cobb before getting knifed in the chest.
"My name is Mike Franks. I figure I got one last fight left in me. You want it?"
Similarly, Jenny Sheppard. Knew there were assassins on her tail (and that she was already dying of a terminal illness), so lured them out to an abandoned diner in the middle of the desert and managed to take four of the assassins with her.* In
In the final episode of Star Trek: Enterprise Trip kills himself and the party of invading aliens by rigging a plasma relay to explode. His final words are "One more thing. You can all go straight to hell!"
This is Gus Fring's as well. After the explosion, he gracefully walks out of the door with half his face blown off, adjusting his tie before he falls dead.
In Season 5, Hank Schrader goes out like a champ, in stark contrast to Walt pleading for Jack to spare him.
Hank:My name is ASAC Schrader, and you can go fuck yourself.
Walter White dies from bleeding out after being with with a bullet from an M60 he set up to remotely wipe out all the white supremacists in their compound, being hit after using his body to shield Jesse. Before he dies, he gets revenge on Jack for killing Hank, not even letting him finish his attempted bargain, catches Lydia on the phone to let her know that he poisoned her with ricin and she has days left to live, and finally walking in the meth lab, the one place where he truly feels alive. He dies on his own terms rather than from the cancer as the police storm the compound.
Happens offscreen in a Bad Future episode of Sanctuary. Helen somehow ends up a few years in the future during a Zombie Apocalypse, and Will tells her how Druitt died. He teleported with a nuke into a city infested with zombies and detonated it.
Evan Abby, a guy dying from leukemia, in the Criminal Minds episode "Ashes and Dust" decides to lead the UnSub (who is an arsonist who likes to watch people burn to death) into a highly flammable building, knowing that the UnSub wants to kill him. This doubles as a Thanatos Gambit.
Arsonist: How do you plan on getting out? Evan: (holding a lighter) I don't. (cue Oh Crap look from the arsonist)
The line just before that is even better, considering that Abby is a man who founded an eco-terrorist group to try to redeem himself after helping various companies hide toxic waste, then dissolved the group when he realized that it itself was becoming too dangerous, and doing more harm than good:
Arsonist: What are you doing? Evan: (Laughing bitterly) I'm doing the right thing.
First Officer York's clone in Hyperdrive. Squadron Leader Mason has locked his crew out of the bridge and is flying the Pride of Glenrothes straight at the Camden Lock. The clone takes Shuttle 3 and flies it into the Pride of Glenrothes' ramscoop, gutting the engines and forcing the ship to crash on the Lunar surface.
York Clone: (Girlish voice) Helloooo? (Normal voice) I do this for you, Eduardo Pauline York. Bye...
Later averted in that during the clone's funeral, he keeps interrupting Henderson's eulogy with phrases of gibberish from inside the coffin, incliding "I'm dead. Has no one seen my handbag?"
Sheridan bringing a nuclear-armed Whitestar crashing down on Z'ha'dum as he takes the plunge to his "death" (after a fashion).
The part of Kosh that remained with Sheridan after his earlier Heroic Sacrifice later leaps out of Sheridan to aid in the killing of Ulkesh ("Kosh II"), taking them both outside the station where they die in a massive and spectacular energy release.
Cold Case features a variation. Many of the victims get their own personal Crowning Moment of Awesome (standing up for their principles, calling their killer out on their bullshit, etc.), and more often than not this is what results in their death.
Revolution: After spending most of the series thus far in captivity, in the episode "The Stand", Danny decides that he needs to start pulling his weight and refuses to run and hide. Soon afterwards, Rachel and Miles return with the anti-air weaponry, but Miles is non-fatally wounded by the enemy fire before he can take out the chopper carrying the amplifier. Danny runs out, grabs the missile launcher, and blows up the chopper, immediately causing the other chopper to lose power...and then as said chopper is falling, its guns discharge multiple rounds clear through his body. (Which sort of also makes it a dying moment of awesome for the Monroe RepublicMooks, who knew that they were dead as soon as their chopper hit the ground and still managed to take out their killer on the way down.)
"Big Bad John" by Jimmy Dean tells the story of a giant of a man who saves his fellow miners from a cave-in by holding up a sagging support timber long enough for the twenty other miners to escape. The mine collapses before the others can go back in to save him.
Now, they never reopened that worthless pit; They just placed a marble stand in front of it. These few words were written on that stand: "At the bottom of this mine lies a big big man. Big John."
Dwarven Troll Slayers in Warhammer are dwarfs that feel they are so irrereemably dishonoured, that they go in search of one of these by finding the biggest and scariest monster they can find, (most often trolls, hence the name), and fighting it to the death. Most succeed at this, but a few screw it up by winning, and are forced to find something even bigger and nastier to fight. There are a few Slayers that suck so hard at it that they're among the toughest and most skilled fighters in the game. The Prestige Class for surviving Troll Slayers is Giant Slayers.
Part of the slayer oath is atonement by destroying threats to the Dwarf race, not just by getting killed. If death were the point, they could just jump off a cliff. They have to take as many evil monsters with them as they can.
Also, the Oath is that they must die 1) In battle and 2) In a fair fight, meaning that they can't throw the fight.
There are even Prestige Class' for those that survive being a Giant Slayer- Dragon Slayer and Daemon Slayer. Consider that in this setting "killing" a daemon just banishes it, and it seems unfair that the only Slayer since (the god) Grimnir who may have actually killed a Greater Daemon doesn't merit a mention on this page. He's still alive...
Warhammer 40k has no lack of these, perhaps the most obvious goes collectively to the entire the Astral Knights chapter of the Space Marines, an otherwise unknown and unmentioned chapter. The Imperial forces fought the World Engine, a planet-sized Necron spacecraft that had annihilated 1/3 of a battlefleet without anything they did as much as breaching its shields - laser batteries, boarding crafts, teleport beams, you name it. The Astral Knights' Chapter Master eventually decided on trying to reach it by ramming through its shields with his battle barge, the flagship of the chapter's fleet. That finally got them close, and he and every available marine got in the drop pods, went to the surface to the ship, and for 100 hours fought against tens of thousands of Necron warriors, wrecking any control node, generator, or any possibly important piece of scenery they came across. Finally, when the space marines were whittled down to the Master himself and five other marines, they detonated thermal charges which brought down a massive tomb complex containing many of the Necron command arrays. That finally brought the World Engine's shields down, allowing the fleet to take it down with cyclonic torpedoes. Lots of cyclonic torpedoes.
The last stand of Ultramar is another awesome one. 100 Ultramarines pitted against a full Tyranid hive fleet in 24 hours of solid, bloody combat. When the last Ultramarine died, just as re-enforcements arrived, the ground of the Ultramarines fortress monastery was that thick with Tyranid corpses that almost the entire complex was buried. Damn, say what you will about Ward's love of the Ultramarines, that is badass.
Yu-Gi-Oh has Chaos Emperor Dragon, it's effect allows to do the equivalent of destroying the universe taking itself down and damaging the opponent for each card it destroys.
Red Dead Redemption: John Marston knows that there are thirty-five men outside his barn with guns. He also knows that he has to die to save his family. His pistol holds fifteen rounds— sixteen men (if the player is quick enough that is), counting John, die.
Usually Ganondorf in every Zelda game he's been in has a profound effect. Most notable are his death scenes in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, where Link impales his forehead with the Master Sword, he says his final line, then turns to stone. And The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, where Link stabs him through the torso where the Sage's Sword had impaled him, Ganondorf stands back up, then dies on his feet, Master Sword stuck straight through him.
Also Mikau from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, who is mortally wounded and lying on the beach. He asks Link if he will hear his last message. After Link agrees to this, Mikau stands up, sings his last song, and falls down, dead.
The back-story part of the manual for Wolfenstein 3D says that you will either have a great story (about escaping Nazi prison) for your grandkids, or go out in a blaze of glory.
Archer gets one in the Fate route, being able to kill Berserker several times even though he was still exhausted from fighting Saber. He kills Berserker over and over again even without his Reality Marble.
Berserker himself gets one in the Unlimited Blade Works route, taking on Gilgamesh to defend Ilya, before being restrained by chains specifically fashioned to hold back godly beings and killed. When Gilgamesh then goes for Ilya, Berserker comes back once more and breaks the chains just so that his Master wouldn't die alone before finally dying himself. Ilya herself described it as her favorite scene in the omake.
Lancer's death in Unlimited Blade Works definitely counts. After he saves Tohsaka from being raped by Shinji, Kotomine suddenly appears and orders Lancer to kill Tohsaka. Lancer refuses, causing Kotomine to force Lancer to kill himself via Command Spell. However, before Kotomine is able to kill Tohsaka, a very much living Lancer stabs an unsuspecting Kotomine, killing him in the process. Shinji, thinking of both Kotomine and Lancer as dead, attempts to force himself on Tohsaha again, but Lancer reveals that he still hasn't died yet and scares Shinji off. Then he sets the room on fire and tells Tohsaka to go, which actually saves everyone from being killed by Gilgamesh (who leaves, since he doesn't want to get "dirtied by the ashes") a little later on.
Shirou gets two in Heaven's Feel. In the Sparks Liner High Bad End, he takes on and wins against Saber Alter by utilizing multiple copies of Kansho and Byakuya to perform a chain of simultaneous and ultimately unavoidable attacks, he then dies having earned Saber's respect and acknowledgment and having been able to give her one last goodbye. In the Normal End, Shirou survives the fight against Saber Alter (as Rider was there to help), and goes on to face Kotomine alone. Shirou's mind and body is steadily being corrupted by his 'own' power given from Archer, turning him physically and mentally into a sword (the player can hear the metal in his body grinding against its self with every step. He can feel it.) He and Kotomine fight fist to fist, both running on borrowed time. Kotomine finally expires before Shirou, who, having saved Sakura and done everything he set out to, just stops... but not before tracing Excalibur and destroying the Great Grail. Made even more impressive by the fact that Shirou actually died shortly after his fight against Kotomine but kept on going through sheer force of will even as his mind collapses and he starts forgetting who he is, he is still forcing himself forward.
Even if he is the Big Bad of the game (and a true bastard to boot) Luca Blight's demise in Suikoden II in which he battles practically your entire army almost single-handedly while covered with arrows and finally dueling the main character after all of this. Then he rubs it in your face with a Badass Boast.
Subverted in Modern Warfare 2. Soap is stabbed in the chest, which puts him out of action while the Big Bad beats up Captain Price. Then Soap yanks the knife out of his own chest and chucks it into the Big Bad 's eye. The subversion is that he's still alive when he's loaded into the chopper at the end of the game.
Though, at first, it seems that way. After Soap sends Shepherd to hell using an Eye Scream technique, his arms just drop as his vision steadily fades away. And just at the last second, when it seems Soap's gonna lose consciousness, Price comes to and it able to start patching Soap up.
All of Zero's various Heroic Sacrifices throughout the Mega Man X and Zero series qualifies, particularly the last one. Going out in a literal blaze of glory, taking a villain of the highest order with him, leaving behind a legacy of humans and Reploids working together for a more peaceful world. Said peace wouldn't have even come into fruition if the humans didn't see firsthand Zero's selfless acts throughout the series (up to and including the aforementioned Heroic Sacrifice). It's Zero, for crying out loud. They have to make his death one of the highlights of his life/lives.
And then the remains of his soul breaking Master Li's hold on your mind to allow your victory.
Shandra Jerro's impressive death two thrids of the way through Neverwinter Nights 2. Seeing the whiny farmgirl teleporting around freeing her grandfather's collection of bound demons before being taken down was quite satisfying.
Final Fantasy XII Reddas at the Pharos. Face-to-face with the Sun-Cryst, the instrument by which the gods manipulate history and which (indirectly) led to the destruction of a country by his hands, which he believes to be his own Moral Event Horizon, he takes a crystal-cleaving god-blade and...
Reddas: I, Judge Magister, condemn thee to oblivion!
Final Fantasy II has, like, three. First is Josef sacrificing himself to stop a boobytrapped boulder from crushing the party. Then there's Minwu giving his life to break the seal on the Ultima tome, and finally, Ricard attacks the Dark Emperor so the rest of the party can get away with their lives, sacrificing himself in the process. Concentrated Badass.
Final Fantasy IV: Tellah, driven by revenge, gives everything he has to take down Golbez in his final moments and casting the ultimate spell that fazes him. Said ultimate spell took him to him to his grave because, at his old age, he overtaxed himself or in game speak... MP too low. (His max MP isn't even enough to cast the spell.) Golbez may not have died, but that spell hitting him left him so weak that he dropped his control over Kain AND made him beatable later in the game. Bravo, Tellah...
To give those who haven't played the game a better feel for it. Meteor (the last spell that Tellah casts) uses 99 MP. Tellah only has 90 MP. He casts it AFTER using Firaga, Blizzaga, Thundaga (all of which use 30 MP each) AND Bio (MP cost 20). MP too low indeed.
In the Final Fantasy VII prequel Crisis Core, "Embrace your dreams... and whatever happens... protect your honor... AS SOLDIER!!" And at the end of the ensuing final stand, Zack, fatigued and battle worn, falls to the remaining THREE troops of the ARMY that he just faced...
In StarCraft Tassadar sacrifices himself to destroy the Overmind.
For those that actually haven't played the game: Tassadar is/was the commander of the Protoss forces until he committed the treason/heresy of not only talking with the Dark Templar but embracing them and sharing in their learning. Cue Zerg invasion of Aiur (Protoss homeworld) that reaches such a stupendous scale that they even manifest the physical body of the Hive Mind there. In the climax of the battle, Tassadar takes it upon himself to finish the job; namely flying his damaged and deteriorating flagship dead at the Hive Mind's physical shell, while channeling every ounce of his legendary psychic power using both Khala AND Dark Templar techniques throughout the ships hull, turning it into a psychically-charged kamikaze nuke so strong it (more or less) KILLS THE HIVE MIND of the entire Zerg.
Also, arguably the Overmind itself, which was tainted with an overriding directive to destroy the Protoss, and, after creating a replacement and keeping her safely occupied, made its own death (which would free the Zerg from the pesky directive) possible by manifesting in physical form on Aiur before its "enemies" were completely defeated. It could've worked better, but also a lot worse.
Killzone 2:after being shot in the chest at point blank three times and left for dead, captain templar crawls to the command console and deactivates the New Sun's altitude control system, and laughs weakly to himself as the giant warship plummets into Tharsis Refinery, disabling Pyrrhus' advanced defence grid.
Dragon Age: Origins has Duncan going down by climbing up an ogre's chest with sword and knife to deal the killing blow. Later, potentially the Warden, Alistair, or Loghain can be killed while offing the Archdemon.
In fact, the Grey Wardens seem to have this trope as one of membership benefits: those Wardens who aren't lucky enough to die killing the Archdemon or go out in a blaze of glory before getting too old leave for the Deep Roads to kill as many Darkspawn as they can and die fighting. This trailer says it all.
Riordan attacking the Archdemon in midair and slashing its wing before falling to his death, grounding it for the final battle with the other Wardens.
In Baldur's Gate, Keldorn's epilogue has him finally retiring from the Order of Torm and settling down with his family, only for a horde of giants to invade Athkatla. He then proceeds fight off the entire horde single handedly, despite numerous fatal wounds, and doesn't die until the last giant has been defeated. His actions were so heroic (and badass) that Torm himself came to personally guide Keldorn's soul to the afterlife. Wow. Not only that, but his 'afterlife' is to be the right hand man of the God of Justice!
If he isn't romanced and successfully passes his trials, Anomen will go on to have a great heroic career that ends with him going down in a blaze of glory while singlehandedly stopping an Evil Sorcerer.
Wild ARMs 4 has Gawn go down destroying a missile barrage while keeping himself aloft in the air with a pair of handguns, and after he runs out of ammo he takes down the last one by punching it. He follows this up by somehow giving a last speech before the detention destroys him. The laws of physics may weep at that scene, but it's still a way to go out.
Grom Hellscream in Warcraft 3 has one of the most epic deaths of any major character in the game. To save his clan from their demonic bloodlust and free them from Mannoroth's control, he and Thrall track down the demon. Grom's axe splits the demon's armour and chest in half, killing him in a burst of flame.
Grom: "Thrall... the blood haze has lifted... the demon's fire has burnt out in my veins. I... have... freed...myself..." Thrall: "No, old friend...you've freed us all."
Thus proving that Grom Hellscream was such an ultimate badass that the following statement was coined: "The only thing badass enough to kill Grom Hellscream was, in fact, killed by Grom Hellscream."
Jorge manually detonates a slipspace 'bomb' while aboard a captured Covenant Corvette, and the ensuing space-time rift destroys a massive Covenant Supercarrier, costing the Covenant a rare & powerful vessel and the (likely estimate) 100,000+ personnel aboard it. Then the restof the Covenant fleet arrives.
Carter disposes of a Scarab blocking Six & Emile's path by ramming the badly-damaged Pelican he's piloting into the walker. "You're on your own Noble. Carter out."
Emile gets impaled through the chest from behind by an Elite Zealot. Not missing a beat, he draws his huge-ass knife, spins around in the Elite's grip, and stabs the Elite in the neck with it, taking the Zealot down in his final act. "I'm ready, how about you?"
Six fights off an impossibly large never-ending swarm of Covenant soldiers, eventually being taken down by an elite team of Elites, and managing to kill about half of them before succumbing.
Kat gets shot by a sniper. Through and through, dead on arrival.
Six's predecessor grabbed a bomb from the wounded Kat, jumps into a covenant carrier with his jetpack and throws it into the troops assembling there seconds before detonation. Thus the "footsteps we rather not see filled."
And in the books, we have Kurt. After weeks of fighting Onyx Sentinels and then Covenant Elites and Hunters, and watching many old friends and students die, he stays behind while the survivors escape into the micro-Dyson sphere. Facing off against an army of Covenant soldiers, he sees every one of his deceased friends and students giving him a thumbs up. The following dialogue occurs:
Fleetmaster Elite: One last fight, Demon. You will die and we will open the silver gate. Kurt: Die? Don't you know? Spartans never die.
Then he detonates a nuke, killing the entire army, and leading to the planet breaking apart into trillions of Sentinels. These Sentinels then destroy the massive Covenant fleet in orbit, making his death even more awesome.
Also from the books, the Master Chief and his team have rigged a Covenant space station to blow, hoping to damage the 500 strong fleet around it. Admiral Whitcomb and Lieutenant Haverson realize that too many ships will survive for Earth to stand a chance, so they crash a ship into the station and lure the entire Covenant fleet in close. Thanks to them, about twelve Covenant ships survive the explosion.
Whoever gets sacrificed on Virmire in Mass Effect 1 gets this. Anybody who dies on the suicide mission, including Shepard himself in the non-canon bad ending in Mass Effect 2 gets this as well, unless they died on the Normandy.
Commander Shepard's death at the start of Mass Effect 2 counts as well, his/her last act is to save Joker, even though he/she is fairly sure they're about to die. Don't worry, Shepard gets better.
All it did was piss Shepard off.
In Mass Effect 3, Thane Krios takes on Cerberus assassin Kai Leng and takes a sword through the gut while preventing Leng from killing the salarian councilor. The fight is badass enough to qualify on its own - but Thane pulls it off in spite of the fact that he has a terminal illness that interferes with his ability to breathe, and was given three months to live nine months ago.
Thane also asks Shepard to tell the assassin that he should be ashamed at having been prevented from killing his target by a terminally-ill opponent.
Also Mordin Solus, who calmly sings to his Karmic Death or crawls, bleeding, toward it after Shepard betrays him. All to save a race that wanted him dead.
Also Lieutenant Tarquin Victus, who rips the detonation charge out of a massive bomb and is either crushed or killed when the charge explodes.
Also, Rila, one of Samara's daughters. Fighting off Indoctrination and a horde of Banshees (Husks of Ardat-Yakshi Asari), she survives being impaled through the chest by one long enough to set off the huge bomb that's right behind her, obliterating the Banshees.
Rila: "We... are not your slaves!" *click, BOOM*
Also, Legion, who willingly sacrifices himself to give the Geth true sentience.
And last but certainly not least, Shepard him/herself. Having barely survived a direct attack from a Reaper, he/she continues fighting their way to the Crucible, ultimately confronting the creator of the Reaper cycles and putting an end to the cycle once and for all before dying.Potentially subverted, however; one of the endings, with certain conditions fulfilled, showed that Shepard survives the Citadel's explosion. Another ending involves essencially becoming a god.
Asch's death gets it's own little video. Unarmed at first, he manages to fight off dozens of soldiers but then ends up stabbed in the back. The sword goes through him, another three swords get stabbed through his body. He kills the last remaining soldiers, remains standing and pulls one of the swords out before his strength leaves him and he falls to the ground. Also contains a Go Out with a Smile seconds before he slides down the wall.
Bill's death in Left 4 Dead. In the campaign The Sacrifice, the survivors are trying to get a boat to get out to sea and hopefully to an island somewhere the infections hasn't reached yet. In order to do so, they have to operate several generators in order to hoist the noisy drawbridge. In the process of doing so, one of the generators powers down, leaving the drawbridge shut, and the survivors exposed. Louis begins to volunteer to be the one to go back to turn it back on, as he had a busted leg (canonically at least, gameplay wise it doesn't matter who), but before he does Bill goes back a guns a blazing. He manages to get the generator fixed, but is trapped in the generator room by no fewer than THREE Tanks. Because you -need- that many tanks to take out someone like Bill.
Selvaria blowing herself up along with a whole freaking city and most of Gallia's main army in Valkyria Chronicles is a villainous example.
Takeharu Kirijo of Persona 3 gets one in the PSP remake. After Ikutsuki shoots him, leaving him fatally wounded, Takeharu pulls out a gun of his own and fires back at Ikutsuki. (In the other versions of the game, Koromaru attacks Shuji, which is awesome in its own right, but it's not a DMOA.)
The Protagonist him/herself, transforming his/her own life into the Great Seal that will seal Nyx, the universal embodiment of Death itself, away once more. And managing to hold on for the next two months to Graduation Day on the sheer strength of a promise made to his/her friends.
The ending of God of War 3 sees Athena demanding the power of Hope back from Kratos so she can use it to remake the world. In a last act of defiance, Kratos impales himself with the Blade of Olympus, releasing the power of Hope to all of mankind.
In Metal Gear Solid, in the middle of the battle against Metal Gear Rex (piloted by Liquid Snake), the cybernetic ninja Gray Fox leaps into the action and attempts to destroy Rex's radome. At one point he is pinned down by Rex with an arm sliced off, and Liquid taunts Gray Fox by remarking that "in the middle east, we don't hunt foxes, we hunt jackals". Despite his predicament, he still has the strength to lift his one remaining arm and shoot at Rex's radome while proclaiming "A cornered fox is more dangerous than a jackal!" This destroys the radome, and before being crushed to death, he turns to Snake and delivers one final message to his former friend/foe:
Gray Fox: Snake, we're not tools of the government, or anyone else! Fighting was the only thing, the ONLY thing I was good at. But, at least I always fought for what I believed in. Snake, farewell...
And this is just the end of it. When the Barrier Trio loses all of their health, they charge up an attack. Next turn, they use PK Starstorm, the strongest attack an enemy can use, for the first time in the game. They try to do it again, but they're too weak. Then, they flash the last pose spectacularly and finally die.
In Gears of War 3, Dominic Santiago heroically sacrifices himself to save the rest of Delta Squad by crashing a truck into a massive fuel tank. This scene was particularly shocking and heartbreaking because not only was Dom a very likable character, but he was also the one character that nobody expected to die.
Planescape: Torment has this regardless of which way the player ends the game. The Nameless One is determined to either destroy or reclaim his mortality, even though the former means instant death and the latter means death fairly shortly, as centuries of life suddenly catch up to him. He also knows that death means an eternity in Hell. So does he back down and remain immortal? No, he either destroys his very mortality in a battle of Physical Gods or he overwhelms the being of superhuman intelligence and wisdom with logic and force of will and pulls it back into himself.
This also applies to the Nameless One's companions who travel with him to the Fortress of Regrets. Upon arrival, they are separated and flung across the massive fortress, where each one is approached by The Transcendant One and offered the choice to abandon their companion and go home or die. Each of them chooses to fight, and though they accomplish nothing, they put up a struggle.
Fall-From-Grace likely takes the cake. Not only does she calmly verbally spar with him, completely unafraid, she also is the only one of your companions to actually hurt the Transcendant One before she bites it. And this is from your healer.
Nodrom challenges the Transcentdant One knowing full well that his chances of winning are slim. Not bad for an apparently soulless construct.
Stern and Levi of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha As Portable: The Gears of Destiny. As the already immense power of the Nigh Invulnerable Unbreakable Darkness continues to increase, Stern realizes that the only way to stop the Eldritch Abomination is to devise a way to stop her growth. She then volunteers herself for the Suicide Mission despite knowing that the Unbreakable Darkness could destroy her system to the point where even her regeneration program couldn't save her, and binds her Lord Dearche and fellow minion Levi to make sure that they don't try to take her place. However, her binds prove to not be strong enough to stop Levi from brute forcing her way out, and Levi convinces her to let her join the suicide mission since there'd be a better chance against the Unbreakable Darkness with the two of them. As expected, the two go down fighting the Unbreakable Darkness, but not before they manage to seal the Unbreakable Darkness' Healing Factor and hand over the last of their powers to Lord Dearche with their dying breath, paving a path to victory for the rest of their allies. They do get better in the end though.
Eliwood's father Elbert in Fire Emblem: Rekka no Ken. What's not awesome in severely wounding the same Big Bad who fatally injured you, drastically slowing his plans and being this close to get him done for, thus forcing the Big Bad to retreat while mumbling about how he almost kicked it?
Shadow the Hedgehog at the end of Sonic Adventure 2. After preventing a Space Colony from crashing into the Earth with the assistance of Super Sonic, Super Shadow ended up draining his power too quickly, fell to Earth, and supposedly burned to death in the atmosphere, wondering if he had fulfilled the promise he made to his dead best friend: To give the people of Earth a chance to be happy.
However, this didn't stop him from coming back to life in the next game, having been resurrected by popularity.
Following that, SEGA in sense went through this during its Dreamcast Era. This would be the company's swan song as a First Party developer and player in the console wars before reviving itself solely as a Third Party. Considering this was the period they had a massive surge of great new output with IPs that would live on today (like Skies of Arcadia, Jet Set Radio, Crazy Taxi, Samba De Amigo, and many many more) and the Dreamcast itself was accepted very well in sharp contrast to its immediate predecessor; critics, fans, and some non-fans would agree that they went out with a bang. To this day, although still successful, SEGA hasn't hit a home run quite like they did back then.
His rescue of Ben is pretty amazing as well. Ben's indirectly responsible for both the suicide of Kenny's wife and the death of Kenny's son from a zombie bite. For much of Episode Four and Five, Ben is the target of Kenny's wrath. But when Ben falls from a balcony and finds himself impaled by some of the mangled metal, what does Kenny do? He rushed to help the kid, locking the gate behind him so that Lee can't rush in.. Walkers are closing in from both sides of the alleyway he and Ben are in. Kenny fights them off with pistol whips and punches saving his last bullet for Ben to prevent the kid from being bitten and reanimated. His resolve is amazing. He doesn't even give Lee a chance to dissuade him from his actions.
Suikoden Tierkreis has Second Royal Consort Rizwan, the head of the Janam Arcane Academy. When The Order uses their plan to wipe out Janam using a world fusion, Rizwan uses the Chronicle to attempt to stop it. She manages to save the southern port town of Salsabil, as well as Prince Shams, who was visiting there at the time. She also manages to keep the city of El-Qaral intact.
Later, Dirk manages to do the same thing by using two Chronicles at once, one of which had already been expended in such a fashion, and should have been normally impossible.
K'Valk in Star Trek Online really goes out in a blaze of glory. Seeking to redeem himself for a failed mutiny in trying to stop B'Vat's mad scheme to continue the Federation/Klingon War, he hops into a shuttlecraft and sends it into the mouth of the Doomsday Machine, singing a Klingon War Song the entire way.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has Emperor Titus Mede II at the end of the Dark Brotherhood questline. While in-game he's considered a rather controversial figure, when you finally confront him, Titus faces his assassin with remarkable grace, refusing to show fear (at worst simply being annoyed if you act like a psychopath). He calmly accepts his fate, with his final request simply being to consider killing the one who ordered the hit on him in the first place.
Even in the very start of the game, we have that one Stormcloak soldier headed to the chopping block, and a priestess is giving him his final rites. He responds by making her hurry up with it.
Soldier: "Hurry up, I haven't got all day."
Although if he waited, he might have lived...
Also, if you side with the Empire during the Civil War questline, Ulfric Stormcloak gets one. He accepts his defeat and has one final request: at least have the Dragonborn kill him so that it would be a better story.
Tullius: "Well, Ulfric, you can't escape from me this time. Any last words before I send you to... to wherever you people go when you die?"
Rikke: "Sovngarde, sir."
Tullius: "Right. Well?"
Ulfric: "Let the Dragonborn do it. It'll make for a better song."
Videogame/Fallout3 has whoever you let trigger Project Purity, at least without the add - ons. In the vanilla game, either you or Lyons can do it, and you can be assured that whoever walks in that room isn't ever getting out, dying from immense amounts of radioactivity in order to create a supply of clean water for the Capital Wasteland. Basically, you die so that everyone else doesn't. Broken Steel does change that though if you choose to do it.
The pre-Broken Steel awesomeness was somewhat hampered by the fact that it was partly (it wouldn't necessarily be an issue depending on who you had with you) achieved by having those of your companions who would not run a risk of dying refusing to do it for no good reason.
Homestuck: Sollux gets two. The first is in A 5 A 1, when he withstands the Brown Note of an Eldritch Abomination in order to get Feferi into the Medium. He ends up getting better thanks to having an Extra Life. The second is in [S] Cascade, where he reprises his ancestor's role as the Helmsman and uses all his energy to pilot the troll's meteor to the Green Sun, killing himself in the process. He winds up getting better from that too, in a weird sort of way - Aradia describes him as having "a foot on either side".
AR has a minor one when he keeps blowing up the exiles' stations even as Bec Noir is heading straight for him. Having witnessed his creation, AR has a crippling fear of Becquerel, to the point where he had surrendered to WV earlier for just carrying around a pumpkin with his head carved on it. Noir was about to kill PM as well, until AR distracted him.
Jade's dream self. Jack Noir attacked Prospit and cut the chain which connected it to its moon. As Prospit's moon fell towards Skaia, Jade flew after John's sleeping dream self and attempted to wake him up. When that failed, she threw him and saved him from being crushed by Prospit's moon, dying in the process.
Possibly Tavros. He died in an attempt to fight Vriska, whom he thought was evil at the time (and he was sort of right). Tavros was extremely passive and rarely stood up to anyone, while Vriska was a sadistic God Tier and one of the strongest characters in the comic. Granted, she just stabbed him with his lance before he could even do anything, but still.
It's more than that. Vriska has tormented Tavros for most of his life, and brainwashed him into jumping over a cliff and crippling his legs. Tavros deeply fears her because of this. That scene was the first time he'd attempted to assert himself to her, ever.
This trope seems to be a prerequisite for a Heroic Death, one of two ways a God Tier can die permanently. In fact, John was able to resurrect because his death wasn't awesome enough.
Alpha!Church from Red vs. Blue. At the end of season 6, scarcely even willing to accept that he's an AI instead of a ghost, he goes with Washington to distract the Meta and his many AI, keeping them from killing Wash while Wash sets up an Emp to destroy all of the AI. Wash warns him that when it goes off, Church will die too. His response:
Church: When it goes off, I'll be fine. It only affects computers, remember? And I... am a motherf***ing ghost.
While technically not an example due to surviving, Epsilon!Church later gets one just as great. Upon realizing that the containment device he chased Tex into is about to collapse, he finally sits down and discusses his painful history with Tex and allows himself to forget her (deleting her from existence) as a way to end her endless suffering. After which, he calmly sits and waits for the end after uttering the following line
Church: Okay world, do your fucking worst! 'Cause I sure as hell just did mine
Ma Ti in Suburban Knights. After years of being the Butt Monkey of That Guy with the Glasses, he gives an epic rant at his poor treatment and viciously insults Malachite, having long stopped caring what happens to him. And then it turns out his ring can defeat Malachite, so he goes out in an epic Beam-O-War and saves the day.
"Somebody has to merge with it. Somebody has to keep it safe.
One from the archives of the SCP Foundation: a D-class unit, sent in with a video feed to die for recon, apparently singlehandedly fought his way to and destroyed the source of SCP-1983... despite being unarmed.
Some rare metahumans in Brennus are able to 'swan song', burning away their power (and their life) within a few minutes in order to flare their power to new heights.
Dinobot from Beast Wars, whose death is considered one of the best moments in the entire franchise. He even quotes Shakespeare.
His evil clone Dinobot II has a sudden Heel-Face Turn in the series finale, destroying the control panels of the Nemesis and going down the ship to a (second, sorta) death. In the same episode is Tigerhawk, who tries to take on the entire firepower of the Nemesis by himself. At first he holds his own pretty well, but Megatron turns the firepower of the ship Up to Eleven, which ultimately destroys Tigerhawk. This actually helps lead to Dinobot II's Heroic Sacrifice because he accosted Megatron for using the entire firepower of the ship on a single Cybertronian, but Megatron ignored him.
The episode right before the above had the final confrontation between Depth Charge and Rampage, in which the former impales the latter. The quote speaks for itself.
Depth Charge:"Raw Energon! Right through your twisted spark! TAKE IT! Take it straight to the Pit, YOU SICKENING PIECE OF SLAG!"
From Justice League Unlimited, Lex Luthor sacrificing himself to stop Darkseid moments before the latter was about to kill Superman. How does he do this? He gives Darkseid the one thing he really wants: The Anti-Life equation, which devours the two whole. What makes it awesome is his demeanor.
Lex:"As much as I'd like to see that, first you have some business with me. Sorry I'm late, I had to get my power suit" Darkseid: "You would challenge me? Insanity." Lex: "Oh no no no, I'm not here to challenge you, Darkseid. I'm here to give you something you want. The ONLY thing you want."
Barely averted. Batman saves his fellow crew, gives them "It Has Been an Honor" quote and plans to sacrifice himself piloting the Watchtower straight into the doomsday weapon. If Superman didn't save him at the last second this would have fit this trope to a T.
And, after he dies Ray becomes a star beside Evangaline, the star he confused for a firefly and fell in love with. Tell me that's not awesome. I dare you.
Captain Marcus from Exo Squad, diving the disintegrating ExoCarrier Resolute into the heart of the enemy fleets to take as many of them with him as he could, and give a chance for what was left of the ExoFleet to escape. Never mind the whole situation was his fault for blatantly walking into a trap.
"Go back and tell Winfield to watch! Tell him Matthew Marcus knew how to die."
We don't actually see it, but in Avatar The Last Airbender it certainly seems Aang's mentor Gyatso went out with a bang; his body is discovered surrounded by the corpses of quite a few Fire Nation soldiers. Especially considering he's an Airbender—a discipline which Word Of God has stated is bereft of fatal finishing moves—and his death occurred during the passing of Sozin's Comet, which boosted each and every one of those firebending soldiers' powers to ridiculous levels. In order words, he took out the multiple number of troops that killed him, whilst they were at their absolute most powerful, using the least aggressive form of bending. Ask him again why he's a Master airbender.
Battle Droid: Do we take prisoners? Hevy: I don't. *BOOM*
The Venture Bros.: General Triester, knowing there's nothing that can be done for him on Earth, decides there's one thing to do: He shoots himself out of a cannon into space, wearing an American Flag as a toga while saluting, and with a note pinned to himself saying, "fix it" to whatever aliens might find him.
Played for Laughs in an episode of Futurama, when Fry gets carried off by a mechanical pteranodon. Subverted in that he lives.
Fry: "This a cool way to diiiiiiee!"
In Superman: The Animated Series, Superman has been beaten by Darkseid and is paraded through Metropolis. Surely, the mere mortals the Last Son of Krypton had defended would gaze upon this and tremble before the might of the ruler of Apokolips, right? Wrong. Dan Turpin stood up to an alien menace that pummeled Superman, and just in time for the New Gods to arrive. But before he leaves, Darkseid reminds the Man of Steel that "every victory has its price", and vaporizes Turpin with a smile on his face.
Superman: (at Turpin's grave) "In the end, the world didn't need a super man. Just a brave one.
Ferro Lad: Long live the Legion... *COSMIC LEVEL BOOM*
Ripcord's sacrifice in the first episode of G.I. Joe: Renegades certainly counts. It was later revealed he survived, but that was long after it seemed his death had become permanent.
Flint Marco AKA Sandman in The Spectacular Spider Man. He tries to heist an oil tanker, but in the ensuing fight with Spider Man oil starts spilling and then catches fire. Being a decent bloke in heart, Marco helps Spider Man rescue the crew, then throws Spidie himself away from the ship and, as it's about to detonate, forms a protective bubble with his own sand-body around the tanker. The explosion seemingly glassifies him. However, he was revealed to have survived the explosion shortly after Spider Man left. He wasn't seen again in the series. One has to wonder what his role would've been if the series hadn't been cancelled.
Any soldier or marine who has ever jumped on top of a grenade to shield his squad-mates deserves mentioning.
On December 19, 1941 at the Battle of Hong Kong, Canadian Army Company Sergeant Major John Robert Osborn jumped on a grenade, sacrificing himself to save his men. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.
On November 7, 1943 at Bougainville, Marine Sergeant Herbert J. Thomas, Jr deliberately fell on a grenade, sacrificing himself protecting nearby Marines.
On September 1, 1950, near Yongsan, Korea, U.S. Army Private First Class David M. Smith noticed an enemy grenade lobbed into his company's emplacement. Pfc. Smith shouted a warning to his comrades and, fully aware of the odds against him, flung himself upon it. Although he was mortally wounded in this display of valor, his act saved 5 men from injury or death.
On February 11, 1954, IDF private Nathan Elbaz was disarming grenades when he noticed one of the grenade's safeties had slipped. He grabbed the grenade and ran from the tent but realized he wouldn't be able to throw the grenade away without harming some of his friends, so he smothered the explosion with his body.
On February 23, 1971, a M35 2½ ton cargo truck was ambushed by a squad of NVA soldiers near An Khê. At one point during the firefight, an NVA soldier threw a fragmentation grenade into the truck's compartment. 21-year-old Specialist Four Larry G. Dahl was the only occupant who heard the grenade land into the truck. Realizing that there was not sufficient time to return it, he immediately threw himself on top of the grenade, saving his comrades' lives but at the cost of his own. Dahl was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
On April 14, 2004, near Husaybah, Iraq, Jason Dunham used his body and helmet to shield others from a grenade explosion - but died shortly afterward from his injuries.
On July 26, 2006, Roi Klein, during the Battle of Bint Jbeil jumped on a grenade thrown into the house where Klein and his unit were present and stopped the explosion with his body.
On September 29, 2006 in Iraq, United States Navy SEAL Michael A. Monsoor, died after falling on a grenade.
On Dec. 4, 2006 in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, 19 year old U.S. Army Spc. Ross A. McGinnis was killed instantly when he used his body to smother a grenade, saving the lives of four nearby soldiers.
In 2008, near Sangin in Afghanistan, Matthew Croucher used his body and rucksack to pin a grenade to the floor. Suffering "just a nose bleed" as a result .
Werner Voss—German Ace Pilot in WWI, 48 kills to his credit. Voss was killed fighting at least 6 elite British pilots (by HIMSELF), among which were James McCudden and Arthur Rhys-Davids in an epic, 10-minute dogfight. He managed to put bullets into ALL of the other planes before he caught one through the lung. By the way, he was 20.
Athanasios Diakos, during the Greek Revolution against the Ottoman Empire in 1821; the man led a group of 800 Greeks that were defending a bridge in Alamana, Greece, against the oncoming Turkish army. They eventually lost and he was executed by the Turks, but not before earning a badass exit from the world. His last words were, in verse: "Just look at the time when Death chose to call, now that the flowers come to bloom and the earth springs sweet grass."
After the USS Cumberland was rammed by a Confederate ironclad, her crew kept up heavy cannon fire while sinking. The ironclad was impervious to their fire, but still.
HMS Glowworm: when a duel against two German destroyers became the losing side of a Curb-Stomp Battle against the faster, more heavily armed cruiser Hipper, her captain attempted to torpedo his opponent, playing what was generally considered a destroyer's hole card against capital ships in those days. When this failed, he charged his burning ship in to ram. It could only have one ending, but when it was over the German cruiser had had 130ft of armour plate and half its own torpedo tubes ripped off. The captain of the Glowworm was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross - at the recommendation of the German cruiser's captain.
For the record, the captain was Lieutenant Commander Gerard Broadmede-Roope VC RN.
HMS Rawalpindi: a converted merchant ship patrolling the North Sea, found itself pitted against German battleships Gneisenau and Scharnhorst in November, 1939. Despite being hopeless outgunned, outspeeded, and then some, its captain, a 60-year old reserve officer named Edward C. Kennedy, decided to fight instead of surrendering. (His supposed last words were "We’ll fight them both, they’ll sink us, and that will be that. Good-bye.").
HMS Jervis Bay: another converted merchant ship escorting a North Atlantic convoy during World War II, found itself confronted by German heavy cruiser (or, a pocket battleship) Admiral Scheer. Despite being heavily outgunned, the British captain fought the German cruiser so that the merchant ships he was escorting could escape—which most of them did. Captain Fegen of the Jervis Bay was awarded Victoria Cross posthumously for this battle.
Despite already having been wounded, Ordinary Seaman Teddy Sheean of the corvette HMAS Armidale elected to go down with his stricken ship, firing a 20mm cannon against attacking Japanese aircraft - shooting down one of them - in order to dissuade them from strafing his comrades as they evacuated. The truly awesome part? He continued firing even after he had become submerged.
The Australian Navy got a ship named HMAS Sheean. Her motto? "Fight On".
When HMS Kelly was lost in 1941 during the evacuation from Crete, her gun turrets only ceased firing when the water level reached the muzzles. The gunlayers were doomed, but they kept fighting to the bitter end.
The Bismarck didn't go down quietly, and after being alone, bombarded, having her rudder torpedoed and stuck in a permanent circular motion, it took out the HMS Hood and stood quite well against a FLEET of enemy ships.
Point of order: The Bismarck sank the Hood on May 24, 1941 (Battle of the Denmark Strait). The Bismarck itself was hit by the crucial rudder-jamming torpedo in the night of May 26, and sunk on May 27 —three days after having sunk the Hood.
Lesser known then the famed sinking of the Bismarck was the battle of the Northern Cape. The battleship Scharnhorst was the last serious threat to Arctic convoys to Russia. It took 1 battleship (HMS Duke of York), 1 heavy cruiser (HMS Jamaca), 3 light cruisers and 9 destroyers and 10 hours of pursuit, torpedoes and shelling to stop the lone battleship and sink her. Only 36 of a crew of 1,932 survived, compared to 11 dead and 11 wounded on the British side. The Commander of the detachment believed the only reason they got off relatively light was because the Scharnhorst's radar had been damaged in a convoy raid before the attack
"Gentlemen, the battle against the Scharnhorst has ended in victory for us. I hope that any of you who are ever called upon to lead a ship into action against an opponent many times superior, will command your ship as gallantly as the Scharnhorst was commanded today." -Admiral Bruce Fraser
Catiline was a violent, power-mad traitor to the Roman Republic but he certainly earned one of these. During the final battle, when he saw that all was lost, he charged deep into the enemy lines. After the battle he was found lying far from his own lines, still barely breathing, surrounded by the corpses of his foes.
The chroniclers also noted that all wounds sustained were at his front, meaning that he went down fighting and did not run from his fate
Vespasian's exit was classy: aware that he was breathing his last, he got someone to help him out of bed - so that he could diestanding up.
Constantine XI, arguably the last Roman emperor, qualifies. Despite a hopeless situation, he refused to surrender Constantinople to the Turks, despite the Turks offering to spare his life if he did so. When the Turks broke through the walls, he led a last hopeless charge against the invaders, stripping off his imperial clothes so that nothing would distinguish him from his soldiers. He died with them and is likely to have been buried in the same marked grave as they.
Enver Pasha the Turkish Nationalist. He almost certainly had some part in the Armenian Massacres. But he was charismatic, clever, and brave. He fled to Russia, and joined the anti-Red rebels in the Caucausus. When this was hopeless he made a last charge. Tales say he died close to the legendary birthplace of the Turkish race. Thus he died exactly as he should have. He was too wicked to die of old age and to much of a Magnificent Bastard to be hanged.
Marian Fisher, age 13, to the crazy man that would kill her and other Amish girls: "Shoot me first!"
James Connolly, signer of Poblacht na hEireann, and leader of Irish independence. He was badly wounded, and executed by the British, having to be tied to a chair as his wounds prevented him from standing. His death gained huge sympathy and support for the nascent Irish Republican movement, and also brought new members to the ranks of the IRA.
According to at least one story, it's even more of a CMOA - he is said to have whispered/mouthed "Fire" just before the firing squad opened up.
Nathan Hale, American martyr-spy of The American Revolution. As he was about to be hanged, he proclaimed, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."
Dian Wei, Cao Cao's bodyguard during the Three Kingdom wars, faced down a large amount of soldiers, and he took forever to die. When he was finally killed, the soldiers beheaded him, just to make sure he was dead, and STILL weren't sure he was dead.
Fu Tong was surrounded by Wu warriors and was asked to surrender during the retreat from Yi Ling. His reply:
Shall I, an esteemed General of Han, bow down to the curs of Wu? And then he charged into their lines (and died).
300 Spartans at Thermopylae went up against (accounts vary, but most estimates put it at) a couple hundred thousand Persians, knew they were going to die going in, and still considered it an honor to go. According to the records, they took some 20,000 Persians with them, including a good percentage of the legendary Immortals. That's a kill ratio of approximately 67:1 (There were about 5000 other Greeks, but most left before the very end, with the Spartans, their 900 non-combatant slaves and a party of 700 Thespians covering their escape.)
The Battle ofSaragarhi: 21 Sikh soldiers of the 36th Sikh Regiment in British Indian Army were stationed at a remote and lightly fortified outpost on the northern Indian border. The outpost itself was primarily a signalling outpost, linking two larger British forts by line of sight to its east and west. On the 12th of September 1897, 10,000 Afghan and Orakzai tribesmen marched southward to take this outpost as a prelude to invade British India. The outpost's commanding officer, Ishar Singh gave his men a choice; to evacuate to one of the nearby British forts and fight the enemy there, or to stand and fight to the death. Knowing that they are probably all that stand between the enemy and the heartland of the British Raj, all 20 elected to stay. Though outnumbered roughly 500:1note Using modern estimates, the Greeks at Thermopylae were outnumbered roughly 200:1 during their last stand the Sikhs managed to hold off the tribesmen for the entire day. Some amazing feats of heroism include denying two attempts by the tribesmen to Zerg Rush the main gate, in an era where the machine-gun hadn't been invented, and Ishar Singh singlehandedly holding the breached outer walls in order to allow his men to fall back to the inner fortifications. He died valiantly in hand-to-hand combat against a horde of rifle-swinging tribesmen, armed only with a Kirpan dagger. We know this as the Sikh contingent's signalman, Gurmukh Singh, was reporting to the other fort the events of the battle blow by blow, while sniping enemy soldiers from the outpost's signal tower. Eventually, Gurmukh was the last of the 21 left alive by the end of the day. He continued to snipe tribesmen from the signal tower, which the enemy had set on fire in order to kill him. Once he ran out of ammunition, it is said that he fixed his bayonetand charged the enemy, yelling the regimental battle-cry "Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal!!" note Translation: "He who cries 'God is Truth' is ever victorious!" He is personally credited with killing 20 of the enemy before succumbing. The number of tribesmen the Sikhs took with them range between 180 to 800. Thanks to their sacrifice, the tribesmen lost the element of surprise and were turned back when they tried to attack the next fort (which was able to receive reinforcements the day after the battle). When relief forces finally reclaimed the outpost, they found that not a single Sikh had an unexpended round of ammunition. The average soldier of the day carried 400 rounds each. When their story was brought before British Parliament, it was received with a standing ovation. Each Sikh posthumously received the Indian equivalent of the Victoria Cross, and to this day Sikhs around the world celebrate the 12th of September as Saragarhi Day, to commemorate their last stand.
The Battle of Wizna. 700 Poles versus 42,200 Nazis with 350 tanks and a bit over 600 pieces of artillery. The Polish commander, Władysław Raginis swore that he would not leave his post alive. The Polish army held out for three days.
They would have held out longer but Raginis, seeing that no help is coming, decided to save his soldiers by allowing them to surrender, but not before blowing himself up with a grenade, so as not to break the vow.
Decorations for valor in combat tend to be this. Among those that have earned the Medal of Honor (USA), more than half of them died while doing the deeds that earned them the medal.
Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar, where he ended Napoleon's hopes to invade England. After being shot and having a lung pierced and his back broken by a French sniper, he was helped downstairs to the ship surgeon by two of his men but first stopped them so he could give advice to the man handling the tiller, and did his best through the whole trip to not give away how injured he was and cause his crew to lose morale. His last words upon being informed of the British victory: "Thank God, I have done my duty."
Boy Seaman 1st Class Jack Cornwell, the youngest posthumous recipient of the Victoria Cross, got one of these at the Battle of Jutland whilst serving aboard the HMS Chester. On the morning of the battle, Chester was jumped by four Kaiserliche Marine cruisers. Cornwell stayed at his 5.5 inch gun, despite sustaining mortal wounds. He remained at his post, despite enormous steel shards through his chest, for fifteen minutes. His citation, from Admiral David Beatty, reads: "the instance of devotion to duty by Boy (1st Class) John Travers Cornwell who was mortally wounded early in the action, but nevertheless remained standing alone at a most exposed post, quietly awaiting orders till the end of the action, with the gun's crew dead and wounded around him. He was under 16½ years old. I regret that he has since died, but I recommend his case for special recognition in justice to his memory and as an acknowledgement of the high example set by him."
Casey Jones, who became a folk hero on the level of Davy Crockett after sacrificing himself trying to save his train from crashing into another. He saved the lives of everyone else on the train, becoming the incident's only fatality, and according to who you believe his hands were still tightly clutching the brake and whistle cord when his body was recovered.
And speaking of Davy Crockett, how about the Alamo? 200-odd soldiers defended the mission against Santa Anna's 2400-strong army for 11 days before being slaughtered.
Crockett gets a particular mention for how he marshaled the Texan forces to a heroic stand after the commander, William Travis, was prematurely slain at the beginning of the battle. Though the Mexican forces took the fort, a lot of them fell during the process. Crockett was said to be among the last to fall, he and his party of adventurers from Tennessee dying holding a small hill within the fort.
Special mention should go to the aforementioned William Barrett Travis as well. Although he was killed very early, having been shot in the head, he sat up in the dirt and seeing a sword of a Mexican officer coming down at him, with his last strength, on his knees, he fenced with the Mexican officer and in the end, ran the man through before allowing himself to expire.
A somewhat confusing example is presented by US Admiral Daniel Callaghan, who led the US fleet during the First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. On the one hand, he took on a much more powerful Japanese squadron and prevented the shelling of the Henderson Field and the landing of Japanese supplies and reinforcements, while having most of his fleet sunk or crippled and having himself killed. After action evaluation of the battle showed, however, that he made serious mistakes before and during the battle which contributed to the near-catastrophe of the battle for the US, which was prevented largely by the loss of nerve by the Japanese admiral who decided to pull out and abort his mission after the battle. Still, the aggressive (if faulty) actions by Callaghan did contribute to the Japanese decision and the man died in the battle to boot, so the negative evaluations were suppressed and the US admiral was publicly touted as a great hero.
Fabrizio Quattrocchi was an Italian security guard working in Iraq. In 2004, he was captured by terrorists who forced him to dig his own grave and kneel beside it wearing a hood as they prepared to film his death. He defied them by trying to pull off the hood and shouting: "I'll show you how an Italian dies!" right before he was shot.
Sikh martyrs Sahibzada Fateh Singh and his brother, Sahibzada Zorawar Singh. They were executed at ages 7 and 9 by Muslim extremists for refusing to convert. Even during their execution (which consisted of them being bricked up alive within a city wall), they repeatedly defied orders from their executor, saying they would rather face death than compromise their beliefs. The people who actually carried out the order seemed to feel for the two; instead of completely enclosing them within the wall, the wall was only built up to shoulder-height and the boys died by decapitation instead of what would have been. The person responsible was later killed for his crimes. This could also be an example of Face Death with Dignity.
We are talking about the man who, during the horror that was the retreat from Moscow, singlehandedly formed the rearguard at one point. He walked backwards out of Russia, picking up abandoned muskets and using them to hold off the Cossacks, and was the last survivor to enter a French garrison. He earned the right to die as he chose.
Chilean Colonel Badass Jose Miguel Carrera did exactly the same request when he was about to be executed in the same way. When denied, he merely said "It's all right, gentlemen. Then, please aim to the spot where I'l place my hand on". Then he put his hand over his own heart, and his wish was granted.
Petronius Arbiter, Nero's sometime style-consultant, was eventually ordered to commit suicide. Where most people included the Emperor in their will in the hopes that he would leave their actual heirs something, Petronius included an addendum detailing all of Nero's sexual perversions. The fashionable thing to do was to do a full-blown Socrates imitation, complete with high-minded conversation and hemlock. What did Petronius do? Throw a party for his closest friends, drink, sing bawdy songs, smash his most valuable possessions to keep them out of the hands of Nero, and, as the night wore on, let his blood out little by little.
Cruel subversion in the case of the Columbine shootings. Misty Bernall claimed that her daughter Cassie, one of the victims, stood up to one of the boys and when he asked her if she believed in God, she said "Yes" - she even wrote a book on her daughter's "martyrdom". However, it was later proved that poor Cassienever said that; her actual last words were "Dear God. Dear God. Why is this happening? I just want to go home.". Another girl, Valeen Schnurr, saying "oh God, don't let me die", was asked if she believed in God and said she did; when asked why, she said because that was the way she was raised. Her assailant walked away; she survived.
An example on a whole other scale: The Wari Civilization of pre-Columbian South America, apparently believing in the credo of 'Make Love, Not War', decided to let their ENTIRE CULTURE go out with awesome. They built the most advanced brewery the world had seen to that day, churning out 1000 liters of high-proof alcohol per day, and then proceeded to throw the most outrageous party the world had ever seen - dancing, feasting, and drinking themselves into a stupor. Finally, they set fire to the brewery, tossed their cups into the inferno, and walked away in a dozen different directions, marking the disappearance of the Wari People into the annals of history.
It's a stereotype to say that the Balinese make an art out of practically everything... and mass ritual suicide should not be seen as beautiful, but the puputan of the ancient Balinese royal courts belongs on this page. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Dutch Colonial Empire moved in to take control of the island. On September 14, 1906, three Dutch battalions landed on the beaches of South Bali and advanced toward the villages, finding them deserted and in flames. For two years, the Balinese fought back. Princes and their courts chose death rather than surrender. At Badung, the royal family came out in procession, stopping a hundred yards from the Dutch, whereupon the King signaled his high priest to stab him to death, while his family did the same. When the Dutch blew up Klungklung, the last and greatest palace, the King and his entire court, dressed in their most elegant garments, purposefully marched into the gunfire. Those who were not shot stabbed themselves on the spot. Women disdainfully hurled jewels at their assassins, cheating the enemy of any sense of victory. Another royal court left their palace and paraded, singing, off the edge of a cliff.
The American actor Vic Morrow (father of actress Jennifer Jason Leigh), during the filming of the Twilight Zone movie, died while trying to save a bunch of child actors when a stunt helicoper crashed near to them. Two of the kids died with him, the three beheaded by the helicopter blades, but the others were safely retrieved thanks to Morrow's efforts.
After ten years this may need some context to make sense, and if not it's still worth telling the whole story. During the September 11th attacks, there were four hijacked planes: two hit the World Trade Center, one hit the Pentagon, and the fourth - United Flight 93 - crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. For a while it wasn't clear what had happened to United 93, but then recordings of several phone calls made by the passengers and flight crew were found. The most famous of those calls, made by passenger Todd Beamer, included the explanation that he and several others on board were planning to rush the hijackers and attempt to take back control of the plane. Beamer's call ended with the words (addressed to someone else aboard the plane) "Are you guys ready? Okay. Let's roll." No one aboard the plane survived, but thanks to the resistance the hijackers failed to reach their target (possibly the US Capitol Building or the White House) and many more lives were probably saved.
FDNY firefighter Stephen Siller got stuck in traffic in the Brooklyn-Battery tunnel on 9/11. In response he put on 60 pounds worth of his firefighting gear and ran over a mile and a half the rest of the way through the tunnel to the World Trade Center where he was killed. A race is now held every year through the same tunnel in his honor.
The reason that Haiti, unlike most Latin American countries, is almost entirely black rather than mixed white, black and native, is that the indigenous inhabitants fought to the last man, and when it became clear that the whites were going to win, the surviving women, children and elderly men committed mass suicide rather than be enslaved.
Oliver Reed. Aged 61, he ended a lifetime of hellraising by drinking three bottles of rum and beating five sailors at arm wrestling in a bar in Malta, then had a heart attack and died. Which, one suspects, is exactly the way he would have wanted to go.
Giles Corey was a farmer accused of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials. When he was tried, he refused to plead in regard to his guilt. The court didn't take this well, and had him strip naked while they slowly crushed him to death. As they were crushing him, they kept asking about his guilt and if he could name others who were possible witches (if he confessed, they would have confiscated his lands and left his family with nothing, and if he had pled his innocence, he would have been officially stripped of his Christianity, which would also leave his family with nothing). His response? "More weight!"
Kamikaze pilots, whether or not they hit their target.
In 1993 during the Battle of Mogadishu Delta Force snipers Gary Gordon and Randy Shughart voluntarily dropped into a dangerous combat zone to protect the wounded crewmen of a downed Blackhawk helicoper. Gordon and Shughart, using only their personal weapons and training, fought their way to the crash site and defended it against Somalis who were intent on capturing or killing the helicopter crew. They successfully held off the attackers until they ran out of ammo, after which the two of them were overrun and killed by the attacking Somalis. Before their sacrifice, Gordon and Shughart managed to kill 24 enemy combatants and severely wounded many more (several of whom would later die of their injuries). Both men would posthumously be awarded the Medal of Honor.
They are credited with saving the life of Pilot Mike Durant.
"Mexicans! I die for a noble and just cause: the independence and liberty of Mexico. May my blood put an end to the disgraces of my new fatherland. ¡Viva Mexico!" -Maximilian of Hapsburg before he was executed. Prior to that he paid every man who was on the firing squad a golden Imperial (Mexican Empire) coin (as was tradition according to the Hapsburgs) and told them to shoot him in the heart so his mother could recognize him in Heaven. His wish was granted.
Yoni Netanyahunote for those wondering, yes, he was the older brother of later Israeli politician Benjamin Netanyahu was a Lt. Commander in the Israeli army when a group of terrorists hijacked a plane headed to Israel, flew it to Entebbe, Uganda, and released everyone but the Israelis (and the French pilot, who refused to leave while some of his passengers were still prisoners, thus earning his own CMOA) and made their demands. The IDF decided to attempt a rescue. Now, let's be clear a rescue mission of this type and magnitude had never been pulled off successfully by anyone. Ever. A team of commandos, led by Netanyahu, planed, practiced, and carried out the rescue within a week. Of the 106 captives, all but four were rescued. Only one commando died during the mission—Yoni Netanyahu.
October 25th 1944, Commander Ernest E. Evans of the USS Johnston attacked a Japanese battleship fleet with a destroyer, to protect Taffy 3, his battle group, He earned the Medal of Honor. The Johnston was sunk after severely damaging several heavy cruisers and battleships.
Likewise, the even smaller destroyer escort USS Samuel B. Roberts sank in the same battle, but not before earning the title of "the destroyer escort that fought like a battleship." It dealt heavy damage to two cruisers: ships it had no business fighting at all. Individually, gunner's mate Paul Carr, who was found dying at his station at the Roberts' aft five-inch gun. He begged the rescuers for help... because the rest of his crew was dead or unconscious and he didn't have the strength left to load the gun by himself.
Operation: Red Wings was a SEAL operation in Afghanistan that went horribly wrong. It was the deadliest day for the U.S Navy SEALs since Vietnam, and the second deadliest day in their entire history, when three SEALs were killed in an ambush and eight others in a MH-46 that was shot down along with the eight crewmen. But the ambushed SEALs went down fighting. Lieutenant Michael Murphy knowingly left cover to get a clear message out to headquarters, ran back to cover and died fighting, for which he earned the Medal of Honor. Petty Officer Second Class Matthew Axelson was found to have fought to his last magazine, despite being injured by an RPG blast. Gunner's Mate Second Class Danny Dietz fought on despite being wounded until he was killed. Averted with Petty Officer First Class Marcus Luttrell. Despite being shot several times, then blown up with an RPG right off of a cliff, he survived.
Master-at-Arms Second Class Michael A Monsoor; recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor:
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Automatic Weapons Gunner for Naval Special Warfare Task Group Arabian Peninsula, in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM on 29 September 2006. As a member of a combined SEAL and Iraqi Army sniper overwatch element, tasked with providing early warning and stand-off protection from a rooftop in an insurgent-held sector of Ar Ramadi, Iraq, Petty Officer Monsoor distinguished himself by his exceptional bravery in the face of grave danger. In the early morning, insurgents prepared to execute a coordinated attack by reconnoitering the area around the element's position. Element snipers thwarted the enemy's initial attempt by eliminating two insurgents. The enemy continued to assault the element, engaging them with a rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire. As enemy activity increased, Petty Officer Monsoor took position with his machine gun between two teammates on an outcropping of the roof. While the SEALs vigilantly watched for enemy activity, an insurgent threw a hand grenade from an unseen location, which bounced off Petty Officer Monsoor's chest and landed in front of him. Although only he could have escaped the blast, Petty Officer Monsoor chose instead to protect his teammates. Instantly and without regard for his own safety, he threw himself onto the grenade to absorb the force of the explosion with his body, saving the lives of his two teammates. By his undaunted courage, fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of certain death, Petty Officer Monsoor gallantly gave his life for his country, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."
Like Seaman Sheean above, a new class of Destroyer-class cruiser will be named after Master-at-Arms Monsoor.
The USS Michael Monsoor will be the second ship of the Zumwalt-class of Guided Missile Destroyers.
Many stars inevitably die this way: while red dwarfs, the smallest type of star will simply fade away into black dwarfs, Sunlike stars will puff out their outer layers to create a planetary nebula, leaving behind a white dwarf (this will happen to our own Sun in about 5 billion years); and the most massive stars explode into supernovae, leaving behind either a neutron star or a black hole depending on how big the supernova was.
And then there are the pair-instability hypernovae. These deaths are reserved for stars greater than a hundred solar masses. They are so huge that they depend on the pressure of their radiation to avoid collapsing. Eventually, their cores get so hot that the radiation pressure tapers off because it starts producing electron-positron pairs, causing the star to collapse. Since the star is still almost entirely hydrogen and helium, the result is the universe's biggest thermonuclear explosion, as the star burn through its entire supply of fuel in a matter of seconds, halting its collapse and then exploding, leaving nothing behind except a glowing cloud of nickel slowly decaying into iron. No white dwarf, no neutron star, no black hole, just a huge cloud expanding out into the universe from where the star used to be.
Ian Bazalgette during WW 2, was a Lancaster pilot and was very accurate during bombing raids. In his final mission, he was flying with a more experienced pilot to spot for the bombers. His partner was almost immediately killed from Anti-Air guns. His gunner was also injured in the fire and he lost all the engines on the right side of the plane and it also caught fire. Bazalgette successfully navigated through the barrage and spotted the bombing. After this, he lost one of the engines in the left side of the plane as the fire spread. He ordered his men to jump out and save themselves while he tried to land it. Everyone bailed except for his injured gunner. At this point, he lost his last engine and glided the Lancaster into a smooth landing outside the city. He picked up his gunner and tried to get him out of the plane. Just as he was about to get out of the plane, it exploded, killing him instantly.
Among the Aztecs of Mexico, one way of sacrificing brave enemy warriors was to put them into gladiatorial combats where they, armed with mock weapons, would face veteran Jaguar and Eagle Knights in single combat until they finally fell. This blew up in the Aztecs' faces when they tried it on a Tlaxcaltec warleader named Tlahuicol. He slew no less than eight Jaguar and Eagle Knights with a bladeless sword and his bare hands before the Aztecs offered him a noble rank and high command in their own army. He scornfully responded that if what he'd seen was the best the Aztecs could do, he'd rather go to Huitzilopochtli than command cowards like these. After that he was finally, ultimately slain. If Aztecs went to Valhalla, that man got a seat up next to Odin himself.
Saito Musashibo Benkei was a warrior-monk in feudal Japan famous for his ogre like size (over 6'6") and for winning nearly 1000 duels before meeting his better. He met his end guarding the only bridge to the main gate of his lord's castle, while his lord committed seppuku to deny his traitorous brother the privilege of killing him. Despite having an army to deal with a single monk, the approaching army was wary of charging Benkei. Their trepidation was soon justified as Benkei easily drove off the first wave of attackers. Seeing that he would not be easily removed, the assaulting general had his archers fire upon the stationary monk. Benkei just stood in a ready stance, apparently unfazed by the arrows. So, not sure what else to do, they charged again, repeating the cycle several times, with Benkei singlehandedly killing over 300 soldiers and becoming something of a human pincushion of arrows. Eventually in one of the lulls between waves, it was noticed that Benkei was awfully still, more so than normal. Approaching, they found him dead on his feet, finally having succumbed to his injuries. By the time they got to Benkei's lord, he had long since carried out his ritual suicide.
In 1997, Randy California of the band Spirit was swimming in Hawaii with his son, when they got caught in a rip current. California pushed his son toward the shore. His son survived, but California was swept out to sea. His body was never found.
Three years later, singer Kirsty MacColl, on holiday in Mexico with her family, sacrificed herself by swimming towards a speeding powerboat to push her son out of the way.
In a metaphorical death example, in the 2003 National League division, The San Francisco Giants were an out away from elimination with the tying run on second, the batter hit a single and JT Snow rounded third as the ball beat him to the plate. He plowed into Marlins catcher Ivan Rodriguez who managed to hold onto the ball and eliminate Giants
Harry Randall Truman, a veteran of the First World War and owner of a lounge near Mount St. Helens. Truman became a minor celebrity in 1980 for refusing to leave his place during the eruption of the volcano. He told the people that if the volcano goes, so does he… that he, along with his pet cats, certainly did.
John the Blind, king of Bohemia, charged in the battle of Crécy against the English, while being blind for nearly a decade, with words: "Let it never be the case that a Bohemian king runs from a fight."