Inhibitors of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE-Is) and angiotensin (ANG) receptor antagonists were originally developed to aid in the management of hypertension. As the use of these agents was extended to the management of heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases, studies of tissue remodeling suggested that blockade of ANGII function might play a role in the regulation of cell death by apoptosis. Experiments with cultured cells confirmed that ANGII is an inducer of apoptosis in well differentiated cell types isolated from the heart, kidneys, lungs and other organs. More recent evidence with animal models strongly suggests that ACE-Is and ANG receptor antagonists, in addition to affecting hemodynamics, also influence disease progression through direct inhibition of ANG-induced apoptosis. This manuscript reviews the evidence supporting this view, discusses its potential relevance to disease pathogenesis and offers new hypotheses regarding novel uses of ACE-Is and ANG receptor antagonists in the control of cell death.