The tech press will happily call things like Flash and RSS dead, when the word is meaningless, and incorrect. Both are technologies, not organisms. They were never alive and continue in wide use, and will likely continue for decades to come.
When Steve or Ilya die, it is surely sad. But the accurate statement is Steve is dead. Not Steve passed on. Relatives, fans and friends can soften the blow, if they want to. But reporters should use the real word.
BTW, you never know, the supposedly dead technologies might start growing again. It happened with Apple, long after people said they were dead, they now are the most highly valued corporation in the world. But organisms that are dead cannot start growing again. That's what the word "dead" means. So as an analogy it doesn't work either.