The role of the transforming growth factor (TGF)-β pathway in myocardial fibrosis is well recognized. However, the precise role of this signaling axis in cardiomyocyte (CM) biology is not defined. In TGF-β signaling, SMAD4 acts as the central intracellular mediator. To investigate the role of TGF-β signaling in CM biology, the authors deleted SMAD4 in adult mouse CMs. We demonstrate that CM-SMAD4–dependent TGF-β signaling is critical for maintaining cardiac function, sarcomere kinetics, ion-channel gene expression, and cardiomyocyte survival. Thus, our findings raise a significant concern regarding the therapeutic approaches that rely on systemic inhibition of the TGF-β pathway for the management of myocardial fibrosis.