I've been bothered by some guy on my online gaming server that kept spamming the phrase "Heroes never die" for quite some time during last weekend before he was banned.
To clear my mind of this mantra (it is akin to a thought itch now) I searched the web to the origins of the phrase.
First I came to this know your meme page, stating that it originated with Overwatch's Mercy character. She yells that when she uses her ultimate. Overwatch was released may 2016, so if that was the origin the usage of the phrase would be close to zero before that. It is not the case.
A google search pointed me to a Halo video on youtube, dated september 2011, it has more than 3M views. We can then safely discard Overwatch as the origin, just as the Know your Meme folks did.
Searching for related terms, I came across this phrase by Babe Ruth "Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.", that is very close but swaps heroes for legends.
Finally, on google trends the interest for the phrase seem to start around june 2004. The aggregated data starts january 2004, so the trail seems to end here (at least to my search skills); I couldn't think of more places to search further than that.
What is the origin of this phrase, "Heroes never die"?