You either die a hero is a common reference to the iconic quote from the 2008 movie of Christopher Nolan; “The Dark Knight”.
The entire quote goes as “you either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain”.
Online it is spread around as an image macro and reaction image in relation to people or things that experienced a fall from grace.
“The Dark Knight” released in the United States on July 18th, 2008, achieving great success.
One of the scenes in the movie depict Harvey Dent encounter Bruce Wayne in a restaurant, having a conversation about justice.
It is here where Dent, the future villain known as Two-Face foreshadows his future by telling Bruce Wayne “you either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain”.
Conversations about the quote would be common on the internet, even years after the release of the film in 2008.
The first memes of the scene started surfacing online in 2012, appearing on humor sites like CollegeHumor, QuickMeme and 9GAG, as well as Imgur, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter and Reddit.