Although species longevity is subject to a diverse range of evolutionary forces, the mortality curves of a wide variety of organisms are rather similar. Here we argue that qualitative and quantitative features of aging can be reproduced by a simple model based on the interdependence of fault-prone agents on one other. In addition to fitting our theory to the empiric mortality curves of six very different organisms, we establish the dependence of lifetime and aging rate on initial conditions, damage and repair rate, and system size. We compare the size distributions of disease and death and see that they have qualitatively different properties. We show that aging patterns are independent of the details of interdependence network structure, which suggests that aging is a many-body effect, and that the qualitative and quantitative features of aging are not sensitively dependent on the details of dependency structure or its formation.