As far as he is concerned, they're preparing his obituary and he doesn't care to attend the funeral.
David Pryce-Jones' obituary for communist Eric Hobsbawm is brutally frank.
Because in 2014, there really is no such thing as bad publicity…except your own obituary.
1706, "register of deaths," from Medieval Latin obituarius "a record of the death of a person," literally "pertaining to death," from Latin obitus "departure, a going to meet, encounter" (a euphemism for "death"), from stem of obire "go toward, go to meet" (as in mortem obire "meet death"), from ob "to, toward" (see ob-) + ire "to go" (see ion). Meaning "record or announcement of a death, especially in a newspaper, and including a brief biographical sketch" is from 1738. As an adjective from 1828. A similar euphemism is in Old English cognate forðfaran "to die," literally "to go forth;" utsið "death," literally "going out, departure."