At the end of the last episode of Cowboy Bebop, Spike collapses. It's not clear, but it looks as though he may be dead. Is there a way to know whether he is alive or dead (something in the background, comments from the director, a continuation in the story in the manga, etc.)
at first I thought he died: short before the end of the session (at the end of the song "Blue") there's a star that fades away, just like Laughing Bull told Jet... but I'm much happier with the uncertain ending :)– user3823Feb 20, 2014 at 17:31
According to Wikipedia:
However, in an interview, Watanabe stated, “I’ve never officially said that he died. At this point, I can tell you that I’m not sure if he’s alive or dead.”
The link to the source is here. Though it's very hard to look at it, unfortunately.
In this more recent interview to Shinichiro Watanabe by Red Carpet News TV on MCM London Comic Con 2013, around minute 8 he says:
I've never actually said whether he is alive or dead in that final scene. That's up to the person watching to decide. I think that people who watch that and think that Spike is asleep are probably right. Just sleeping.
Although he still leaves the matter up to the viewer's interpretation, he seems to suggest that he is more likely to be alive.
Later on on the interview he also states that Spike is his favourite character, but then again, that does not mean he can't die at the end.
Shinichiro Watanabe has stated:
I've never officially said that he died. At this point, I can tell you that I’m not sure if he’s alive or dead
He decided to leave it open-ended, so, even with the many hypothesis on the internet, I guess the real answer is to ask yourself.
Source is the same as in Rapptz's answer: http://mrsspooky.net/bebop/TheDailyTexan.pdf at the top of page 5.
I feel it was made pretty clear when the star winked out at the end. Spike died. Based on the quotations posted above, however, it seems the creator is giving you permission to believe that Spike is alive if you want to.
1Spoilers! I just finished watching all of Cowboy Bebop again, and I'm starting to think now that the star that winked out was not Spike's, but the star of Vicious. The guide Jet talked to said that everyone has a star, so I would think that in the case of the final battle, we would have seen two stars wink out instead of just one. This is my view though and could be wrong.– foxmom85Jan 28, 2016 at 6:49
1Spoilers again Also the ending statement says "You're going to carry that weight," which makes me think it's a message to Spike, saying you will have to carry the weight of your dead love and the fact that you killed the man who was once your friend.– foxmom85Jan 28, 2016 at 6:52