Tourist Dies After Riding 'Star Tours' At Walt Disney World

A Tennessee man died last month shortly after riding the Star Tours attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Florida. 

Ralph Lyles, 67, had a pre-existing heart condition, according to the Orlando Sentinel. 

The incident took place on Sept. 18, but was not revealed publicly until this week, when Florida’s theme parks issued their quarterly report on safety incidents.

“The cause of death was listed as hypertensive cardiovascular disease with other significant conditions contributing to death listed as obesity,” a spokesperson told the Sentinel. 

Star Tours has a sign warning people with preexisting conditions, including heart conditions. The warning is also online: 

“WARNING! For safety, you should be in good health and free from high blood pressure, heart, back or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this adventure. Expectant mothers should not ride.”

Lyles was a big Disney fan who visited the resort every year and joked about dying there, his niece, Bonnie Rook, told Orlando NBC station WESH.

She said the family doesn’t blame the company.   

There’s no blame. There’s mostly … it’s a little bittersweet,” Rook told the station. “Obviously, he’s young and he was in good condition and it’s just a shock to us. But he did die where he said he wanted to die, so we’re trying to get a little bit of solace in that.”

Lyles traveled to the theme parks with his 9-year-old grandson, according to WMC, an NBC station in Memphis.

Teresa Lyles, the boy’s mother ― and Lyles’ daughter-in-law ― told the station Lyles didn’t feel well after riding Star Tours with the child and asked for a cup of ice ― then collapsed of a heart attack moments later.

“He was an awesome person,” she told the station. “He was more than a grandfather.” 

The station reported that he had been taking heart medication. 

Star Tours is a 3D motion simulator ride that takes guests through several different scenes that take place in the universe of the “Star Wars” films. 

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is currently in the middle of a major expansion that will include a larger area dedicated to “Star Wars” attractions

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