From what I understand of the story arc that this happened in, Chewie's death was supposed to raise the stakes in the NJO series. Throughout all of the EU novels up until then, you always knew that the main characters were going to get out of their respective predicaments. As a result a good number of the stories left people a little "blah" and there didn't seem to be a reason for them to continue following the storylines of the novels. In that regard I can understand why Chewbacca was killed off.
Exactly. It sucked, but if you read the rest of the NJO series, you were always on edge wondering who might get knocked off. I would have liked to see Anakin around a little longer, but I applaud the writers for taking a less than popular risk by killing him off.
From what I've heard, Lucas has yet to decide on the fate of Luke, Han & Leia. I've been reading Legacy and I think the story is awesome so far. Its 100 years beyond NJO (I think?), so obviously the known SW heroes have all passed on.
The latest decendent is Cade Skywalker and his dad is Kol Skywalker. Luke has a son named Ben, so I'm wondering if Ben is Cade's grandfather and Luke is is Great Grandfather? If you assume that everyone (outside of Luke) had kids around the age of 25, there could be a missing Skywalker somewhere in there...