Mark Priest, 47, fell Thursday while playing in "Captain Jack's Pirate Tutorial," an interactive show in which actors lead guests through a series of pirate-skills tests, a Disney spokeswoman said.
Priest, who was in a mock sword fight, stumbled on a wet spot at the show's location, near Pirates of the Caribbean, and then banged into a wall, said friend Jeffrey Breslauer. His injuries included a broken vertebra in his neck and a cut that required 55 stitches to his scalp.
Priest was moved out of intensive care and appeared to be improving, but he experienced complications Monday and died at Florida Hospital Orlando, friends said. An official cause of death has not been determined.
"It was a very freakish thing," said Breslauer, who has known Priest for 18 years.
Company officials received no indication that Priest's injuries were life-threatening, a spokeswoman said. When the resort learned of Priest's death Monday afternoon, officials contacted the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
"Our hearts go out to his family and fellow cast members, and we are offering our support to them during this difficult time," Disney spokeswoman Kim Prunty said.
The fall took place during Priest's first performance Thursday morning, Priest told Breslauer. The actor playing Captain Jack Sparrow was supposed to kick Priest's comic-sidekick character in the buttocks at the end of a sword fight.
When Priest stepped afterward, he slid on a wet patch and careened headlong into a wall, Breslauer said. He was bleeding and could barely see, but he went backstage quickly so children would not be upset.
Priest was rushed to Florida Hospital Celebration Health and was transferred to Florida Hospital Orlando.
Priest joked during the ordeal. At one point, he said he was at the hospital to pick up women, Breslauer said.
"He didn't want anybody worried about him or scared," Breslauer said.
That was Priest's nature, friends said.
"He was a comedian on and off the stage," said friend John Baker, who performed as a Ghostbuster with Priest at Universal Studios.
Priest arrived in Central Florida in 1989 and played roles at Sleuths Mystery Dinner Shows on International Drive for about 19 years, said his former director, Laurel Clark. He arrived more than an hour before the show to set up props for gags he made up.
"He was known as a perfectionist," Clark said.