Or just look at the site you're on: There's all sorts of people coming up with neat stuff, and the majority of them featured here haven't died.
Inspiration takes on many forms and it's there if you want to find it. If it's true that you're not finding out about interesting people before they die, it's because you're not looking. Zina's website was there before her death right? Would it have gained as much appeal and attention without the touch of tragedy? Probably not, but only because it's "just another artist". (Edit: I don't mean this callously, she was obviously very talented and watching the video of the stuff she made wants me to make something.)
I had a acquaintance from high school that did some great work and research, though it's not mentioned a whole lot on HN. When he killed himself, though, that got him to the top of HN a few times. But you could have looked him up a week before, and his interesting code and research would have still been there. This probably holds true for a lot of people - if one of the top HN comment-writers eats a cyanide pill tonight, would you not expect headline news tomorrow?
The only real depressing part is that people are dying.
If you're really depressed about only hearing about such people in the nice summaries written up after they die, then go seek out living people doing cool stuff today!
When he killed himself, though, that got him
to the top of HN a few times. But you could have
looked him up a week before
Wow. Just wow. I'm actually unreasonably sad right now.
Her website is still up:
If I may borrow a reference from her favorite comic: She was a "spark" if there ever was one.
One wonders what could have been.