Diablo 3 Community Manager Bashiok just made another comment on Death, and how this will work in the game by release. We’ll likely se a system very much like the BlizzCon 2008 demo!
We had a checkpoint system in the BlizzCon
demo we showed, where you would die and pop back up at the last chekpoint you came across. Some of that was for the convenience of the demo, but we do like the checkpoint system and intend to carry that forward in the same or similar form. We’re not looking toward corpse retrieval currently.
Any death system we do have needs to allow players to get back into the action quickly, but not be so meaningless that you’re just flinging your corpse against a wall of monsters over and over until you finally get through.
Oh, and is that a typo, Bashiok?
A fan asks a follow-up question on how far apart checkpoints will be. Meaning really asking how much downtime a death will be for a player.
That all comes down to balancing, and probably the specific Act/dungeon itself. No way to know right now.
Remember that DiabloWiki.Net has detailed articles about Death and Checkpoints.