Cells exposed to ionizing radiation die via different mechanisms, including apoptosis and mitotic catastrophe. To determine the frequency of mitotic catastrophe in tumor cells after irradiation, we used time-lapse imaging to track centrin-1 and histone H2B in U2OS osteosarcoma cells. We observed a dose-dependent increase in the frequency of mitotic catastrophe after irradiation, although a consistent 30% of cell death occurred through mitotic failure at doses from 2-10 Gy. One potential cause of mitotic catastrophe is centrosome amplification, which is induced by irradiation, and which can result in the formation of multipolar mitotic spindles. Up to 60% of mitotic catastrophes occurred in cells with > 2 centrosomes after irradiation. We observed multipolar mitoses in p53(+) and p53(-) tumor cells after irradiation and found that the spindle assembly checkpoint is active in multipolar mitotic cells. However, we did not detect active caspase-3 in multipolar mitoses. These data demonstrate that a significant proportion of cell death induced by ionizing irradiation is through an apoptosis-independent mechanism involving centrosome amplification and mitotic catastrophe.