As I have said in many of the comments sections, I think Tolstoy reveals Ivan Ilyich’s death right off the bat as to desensitize the reader. By revealing his death in the title, the author prepares the reader for the fact that there will be a death in the narrative. This desensitizes the reader from feeling sorry for the main character and thus lets the reader judge Ivan for all his obvious flaws. Had Tolstoy not “desensitized” the reader, the reader would have a more clouded outlook on who Ilyich is as he/she would feel sorry for his death.
This is a recurring theme throughout the story, swell as the fact that Tolstoy pulls out the same old tricks of making society seem like its full of corrupt hateful individuals, class conflicts, and many of the stereotypical themes used in literature of this era.