Hemolysis is the destruction of erythrocytes (red blood cells). It is the normal process by which old red blood cells that have lost their elasticity are destroyed, mainly in the spleen. This process releases iron for recycling in new red blood cells. Bilirubin, a waste product of hemolysis, is excreted into the bile by the liver. Abnormal hemolysis in which red blood cells are destroyed prematurely may cause anemia and jaundice.