The 25-year-old man was revived on Mission Beach jetty and flown to Cairns Base Hospital in a critical condition but he has since passed away.
A Queensland Police Service spokesman said initial reports from the scene suggested the victim had suffered "a shallow-water blackout".
Queensland Ambulance Service spokesman Kevin Morgan said the diver was pulled from the water without a pulse by people on a nearby boat about 9.45am.
The man's rescuers administered CPR on the journey back to Mission Beach jetty, where paramedics had arranged to meet the vessel.
Upon arrival, paramedics continued trying to resuscitate the man until he regained a pulse.
He was then transferred onto the Rescue 510 Cairns helicopter and flown to hospital where he later died.