You did not need to erase the large tables. Why ???
Here is the strange thing about mysql. mysqld uses MyISAM temp tables for it internal operation. When mysqld runs out of space, it does not crash. IT FREEZES !!!
The following is my answer to 2 year old post "Site Offline" MySQL server failing to start and stop
According to MySQL 5.0 Certification Study Guide
Page 408,409 Section 29.2 Bulletpoint 11 says:
If you run out of disk space while adding rows to a MyISAM table, no
error occurs. The server suspends the operation until space becomes
available, and then completes the operation.
In reality, mysqld is not dead. It is waiting for free diskspace to continue whatever it normally does. Even during startup, if mysqld makes a temp table, it is a MyISAM table. No space left on the disk? No problem. MyISAM just patiently waits for you to make free space.
END OF EXCERPT
All you had to do was manually delete the binary logs. Then, mysqld would start to function normally. Even deleting just 10 logs would have freed 1G and would make mysqld get going again.
You need to do the following:
Login to mysql and run
mysql> RESET MASTER;
mysql> SET GLOBAL expire_logs_days = 7;
Then, add this to
expire-logs-days = 7
Now, mysqld will automatically delete any binary log older than 7 days.