The term acute tubular necrosis was thought to represent a misnomer derived from morphological studies of human necropsies and necrosis was thought to represent an unregulated passive form of cell death which was not amenable to therapeutic manipulation. Recent advances have improved our understanding of cell death in acute kidney injury. First, apoptosis results in cell loss, but does not trigger an inflammatory response. However, clumsy attempts at interfering with apoptosis (e.g. certain caspase inhibitors) may trigger necrosis and, thus, inflammation-mediated kidney injury. Second, and most revolutionary, the concept of regulated necrosis emerged. Several modalities of regulated necrosis were described, such as necroptosis, ferroptosis, pyroptosis and mitochondria permeability transition regulated necrosis. Similar to apoptosis, regulated necrosis is modulated by specific molecules that behave as therapeutic targets. Contrary to apoptosis, regulated necrosis may be extremely pro-inflammatory and, importantly for kidney transplantation, immunogenic. Furthermore, regulated necrosis may trigger synchronized necrosis, in which all cells within a given tubule die in a synchronized manner. We now review the different modalities of regulated necrosis, the evidence for a role in diverse forms of kidney injury and the new opportunities for therapeutic intervention.