Mitochondria are eukaryotic organelles known best for their roles in energy production and metabolism. While often thought of as simply the 'powerhouse of the cell,' these organelles participate in a variety of critical cellular processes including reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, regulation of programmed cell death, modulation of inter- and intracellular nutrient signaling pathways, and maintenance of cellular proteostasis. Disrupted mitochondrial function is a hallmark of eukaryotic aging, and mitochondrial dysfunction has been reported to play a role in many aging-related diseases. While mitochondria are major players in human diseases, significant questions remain regarding their precise mechanistic role. In this review, we detail mechanisms by which mitochondrial dysfunction participate in disease and aging based on findings from model organisms and human genetics studies.