The expression is often used to express regret or in a context of celebration of the deceased, however, it carries ulterior implications, even if they are unintended by the user. Describing people to have 'lost' to cancer suggests that they could have done something differently and the outcome could be changed.
Ego enables us to see shortcomings and weaknesses in others, but not in ourselves. And when we do see our weaknesses, ego hides them and claims to the world that we have none. How do you know when your ego is at work? If you feel insulted, if a criticism hurts, if you get defensive, lose confidence.... it's your ego reacting!