Also tragic story doesn’t have to end with the hero’s life, right? What if the hero lost something of great value to them; wealth, family, reputation, happiness, sanity, health.
This loss would have a great impact on who they are: The athlete who could no longer compete due to health issues. The philanthropist who loved using his money to help others fulfill their dreams. The once proud writer accused of plagiarism who can’t get a call back.
Villains, in a lot of stories can be tragic heroes, and it gives them enough of a sympathy that their fall is both interesting, and memorable. Why aren’t the heroes this way?
Ultimately, for me, the writer, a hero has to at least be brought to the edges of defeat, or at least close enough to know and feel the the weight of the stakes involved in the wins or loss. It’s rather scary to me.