In past times, people would form cults around death gods and figures. Famously, Anubis, Osiris, Hades, and Death (Saint Death) have all had large cult followings. Saint Death, or the personification of death, is currently worshiped by many in Mexico and other countries in Central America. Day of the Dead, November 2, is a celebration for the dead in Saint Death's honor.
The ancient Egyptians are most famous for their fascination of death by mummifying their dead and building exquisite tombs, like the pyramids of Giza, for their dead. Many of their deities were death-related, such as: Ammut, the devourer of unworthy souls; Anubis, the guardian of the Necropolis and the keeper of poisons, medicines, and herbs; and Osiris, the king of the dead.
The Greek underworld, Hades, was ruled by the god Hades, and had five rivers that flowed through it. The rivers were: Acheron, river of sadness; Cocytus, river of lamentation; Lethe, river of forgetfulness; Phlegethon, river of fire; Styx, river of hate. The Underworld had attendants who, though not rulers, were important gods and beings. The Furies were female spirits who exacted vengeance against people who committed specific crimes. Keres were female spirits of death and destruction. Persephone was the goddess of the underworld and the spouse of Hades. Thanatos, the god of death, was said to wear dark robes.
The Vikings believed that if a warrior died in battle, he would be taken to the Norse afterlife: the hall of Valhöll, in which the warriors would prepare for Ragnarökk, the battle at the end of the world. Rune stones were erected to commemorate particularly brave warriors. Death in one's sleep (a "straw death") was considered dishonorable.
Today there are a number of commenters who have spoken on the fascination people have with death. "If it bleeds it leads" is a phrase related to this, meaning that in the media, the most popular material - as well as most of the material in general - is based on death. For example - death as a topic in the news. Musician and artist Marilyn Manson often talks and bases his music and artwork around the way people are fascinated with death, as well as fame (in relation). He comments on how people will use death to gain a certain immortality in the minds of others (fame). His stage name is a reference to Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson, one a symbol of fame (and early death) the other of murder. He has further commented that people are willing to die and kill if they know enough people are watching, to gain this immortality or fame. This extends into a social comment on martyrism, television, and the hypocrisy people show between their fascination and thus promotion of death, and their decryment of violence.