In contrast to microbially triggered inflammation, mechanisms promoting sterile inflammation remain poorly understood. Damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) are considered key inducers of sterile inflammation following cell death, but the relative contribution of specific DAMPs, including high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1), is ill defined. Due to the postnatal lethality of Hmgb1-knockout mice, the role of HMGB1 in sterile inflammation and disease processes in vivo remains controversial. Here, using conditional ablation strategies, we have demonstrated that epithelial, but not bone marrow-derived, HMGB1 is required for sterile inflammation following injury. Epithelial HMGB1, through its receptor RAGE, triggered recruitment of neutrophils, but not macrophages, toward necrosis. In clinically relevant models of necrosis, HMGB1/RAGE-induced neutrophil recruitment mediated subsequent amplification of injury, depending on the presence of neutrophil elastase. Notably, hepatocyte-specific HMGB1 ablation resulted in 100% survival following lethal acetaminophen intoxication. In contrast to necrosis, HMGB1 ablation did not alter inflammation or mortality in response to TNF- or FAS-mediated apoptosis. In LPS-induced shock, in which HMGB1 was considered a key mediator, HMGB1 ablation did not ameliorate inflammation or lethality, despite efficient reduction of HMGB1 serum levels. Our study establishes HMGB1 as a bona fide and targetable DAMP that selectively triggers a neutrophil-mediated injury amplification loop in the setting of necrosis.