An obituary is the notice of someone's death. It is placed in the newspaper to alert others to the death. It gives a background about the deceased's life, usually listing survivors and giving funeral information.
The noun obituary, which appears in English in the early 18th century, comes from the Latin obīre, where ob- means "toward," and īre, "to go," suggesting a "going toward" one's death. The first obituary as we know it probably appeared shortly after the invention of the printing press and included just the bare facts of the death. In 19th-century England, the announcements became more elaborate, and photos were added in the 20th century, making the modern obituary more like an elaborate eulogy.