Pre-Flashpoint, how did people think Barry Allen died during Crisis on Infinite Earths?

On October 27th, 2014, /u/dispenserhere asked the following on /r/DCcomics:

I have just started getting into reading the flash, and I thought i’d start with Volume 2, which takes place directly after Crisis on Infinite Earths with Wally West.

However I’m a little confused about the ‘in canon’ reason for Barry Allen’s death. My question is: Since most characters have no memory of the Crisis events, what reason do they have for Barry not being around? Do they know he died saving them?

For awhile a bunch of characters, including Superman, remembered what had happened but that was later erased as well because, well it a) made it too complicated and b) restricted the new directions they wanted to take some of the characters, including Supes. It was eventually revealed that some magic users/Gods were ‘holding back’ the effects if the Crisis on Infinite Earths and when they stopped everyone forgot.

Now, that gets more complicated as the Crisis still happened, they just don’t remember all the parallel worlds etc. This was referenced nine years later in Zero Hour: Crisis in Time which revealed that the original crisis was the catalyst for the new reality destroying Big Bad and that they remember the Anti-Monitor but he had different motivations etc.

This is a very quick overview as I’m on a phone, but hopefully that made sense :P

Anyway, the status quo for how Barry died (eventually) remained the same for the heroes as for general public: Barry died in a big battle that was related to the crazy weather etc, and it was later confirmed to feature the Anti-Monitor and that he died saving everyone.

You can see how he originally died below:

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