Emergency services were called to the gallery, in Bankside, at about 10.45am on Friday to reports that a man had fallen from the gallery. The Metropolitan Police said the man, who has yet to be identified, died at the scene.
In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said: “Police were called at 10.45am to reports of a man fallen from the Tate Modern on Bankside, SE1.
“Officers, London’s Air Ambulance and London Ambulance Service attended. Despite the efforts of medics at the scene the man sadly died at the scene.”
They added that a cordon remains in place as they make enquiries and notify next of kin.
Dozens of tourists and children on school trips were arriving at the flagship gallery to find all the entrances locked and the shutters pulled down.
The gallery, which is one of the most visited art museums in the world, told visitors it would remain closed for the rest of the day due to the incident.
In a statement, the Tate said: “We are very sad to report that a member of the public passed away at Tate Modern this morning.
“The police are not treating the event as suspicious, but we have closed the gallery for the day as a mark of respect. All our thoughts are with the person’s family and friends at this time.”
One coffee vendor told The Independent that a barista had witnessed the fall and had to take the rest of the day off.
He said: “My head is all over the place it has been an awful morning. Our colleague saw it all happen and has gone home for the day. We’ve got to shut early now.”
A busker said he saw an air ambulance land on the Thames beach before taking off again.
He said: “There were loads of lights and ambulances. People came flooding out of the Tate I thought they were coming to hear me. But nobody knew what was going on - there was a real lack of information.
“I asked two Tate staff and they just said there had been an incident but we can’t go into it. Why didn’t they come out and tell everyone?
“It’s very sad.”
Visitors took to social media to describe the scene after they were evacuated from the premises.
— GV Art London (@GV_Art) February 2, 2024
One posted a picture of several ambulances parked outside and questioned what had happened after they were told to leave.
In 2019 a six-year-old French boy suffered life-changing injuries after he was thrown from the 10th floor of the popular tourist attraction by teenager Jonty Bravery.
The child, who was on holiday with his parents, survived the 100ft (30m) fall but suffered life-changing injuries, including a bleed on the brain and broken bones.
In September his family started a GoFundMe page which said their house is being adapted for his “precarious” walking.
Autistic teenager Bravery was in supported accommodation at the time of the attack but allowed out unsupervised.
He intended to select and kill someone, a court was later told and was convicted of attempted murder in 2020 and jailed for 15 years.
The Tate Modern is one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary art in the world. The gallery opened in 2000 is built inside the abandoned Bankside Power Station and pulled in just under 4 million visitors in 2022.
It houses iconic artists such as Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol.