The image here is the the common one of the Grim Reaper riding a white horse, he steps over the bodies of men, commoners, princes and bishops alike - none are excepted. This is the skull face of fate at its harshest to which all humanity is subject. In many Tarot card decks Death is depicted wearing a full suit of armour. The symbol of Death as an armed warrior is taken from the Book of Revelation, Chapter 5: 'Behold a pale horse, and his name that sat on him was death, and hell followed after him.' The skeleton symbolism shows that the inner self (the skeleton) is the most durable part of the physical self.
Meaning: Transformation, change which is a blessing in disguise. A clearing out which will make way for something better. Harsh fate which does not consider personal feelings. Very, very occasionally does the card singly death; more usually it means a major change in life.
Reversed Meaning: An enforced change, a removal of something that should have been given up. The loss of a friendship.