Transfer RNAs (tRNAs) are non-coding RNA molecules essential for protein synthesis. Post-transcriptionally they are heavily modified to improve their function, folding and stability. Intronic polymorphisms in CDKAL1, a tRNA methylthiotransferase, are associated with increased type 2 diabetes risk. Loss-of-function mutations in TRMT10A, a tRNA methyltransferase, are a monogenic cause of early onset diabetes and microcephaly. Here we confirm the role of TRMT10A as a guanosine 9 tRNA methyltransferase, and identify tRNAGln and tRNAiMeth as two of its targets. Using RNA interference and induced pluripotent stem cell-derived pancreatic β-like cells from healthy controls and TRMT10A-deficient patients we demonstrate that TRMT10A deficiency induces oxidative stress and triggers the intrinsic pathway of apoptosis in β-cells. We show that tRNA guanosine 9 hypomethylation leads to tRNAGln fragmentation and that 5'-tRNAGln fragments mediate TRMT10A deficiency-induced β-cell death. This study unmasks tRNA hypomethylation and fragmentation as a hitherto unknown mechanism of pancreatic β-cell demise relevant to monogenic and polygenic forms of diabetes.