A statement from Cumbria Police said: "Police can confirm that a man who was trapped at height on Dixon's Chimney in Carlisle and later recovered during a multi-agency operation has been confirmed as deceased.
"Paramedics pronounced the man, in his 50s and from Carlisle, deceased at the scene at around 4.45pm."
A statement added: "The thoughts of all the emergency services and partners are with the family and friends of the man. Specialist welfare police officers are supporting his family at this difficult time.
"An investigation will commence into the circumstances into how and why the man was on the chimney and the constabulary will be informing Her Majesty's Coroner."
Police say they believe they know his identity and welfare officers are currently with his family.
Police were first called at 2.22am to reports of a man trapped on the top of Dixon's Chimney, with fire and ambulances also scrambled to the scene.
A Coastguard helicopter had attempted a rescue earlier but the operation was aborted due to the precarious position of the trapped individual.
Fire chiefs at Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service had made a public appeal for a cherry-picker, or aerial work platform.
The platform arrived and a specialist working-at-height team from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service completed the operation.
The giant cherry picker arrived at the scene earlier on Monday and the operation to take the man down finished shortly before 5pm.
Roads around the structure, a prominent local landmark which was built in 1836, have been closed.
The chimney is around 270 feet tall, is a Grade II listed building and when built was the largest chimney in the country, according to a citation on the Historic England website.
Local reports said shouts and wailing could be heard coming from the chimney in the early hours of Monday morning before police arrived on the scene.