This death was shocking made for the fact that viewers saw the reveal the same time as Daryl. Merle ended up a walker, but he still managed to do one last good deed in taking down some of the Governor's men. You even secretly wished he lived.
You walk outside, you risk your life. You take a drink of water, you risk your life. Nowadays you breath and you risk your life. You don’t have a choice. The only thing you can choose is what you’re risking it for.