Sadly, this is just about the most common excuse for not paying that there is. Although I'm sure that some percentage of people saying they have a death in the family (or the variations of "severe illness" or "badly injured in a car accident") are telling the truth, you would be shocked to know how often this is lied about, and simply a case of a buyer changing their mind about the item and looking for a way out.
They think the "death in the family" will make the seller sympathize and cancel the sale. In some cases it works, in other cases a seller will dig around and see the "buyer" bidding on and paying for items during the same period they are supposed to be "going to the funeral" or "in mourning" or "helping with the poor children left behind." Then, guess what - no sympathy!