Although the benefit of sirtuin activation in age-related diseases is well-characterized, the benefit of sirtuin activation in acute diseases has been elusive. Here we discuss that, at least in yeast, Sir2 activation prevents programmed cell death induced by the sustained activation of the stress activated protein kinase (SAPK) Hog1, the yeast homologue of the p38 SAPK. Sir2 prevents ROS formation and maximize cell survival upon SAPK activation. The conserved function of Sir2 in age-related diseases and the conserved role of SAPKs open the possibility of a novel role for sirtuins in cell fate determination in eukaryotic cells.