Durban - Health MEA hospital worker was shot dead at the King Edward VIII Hospital, in Durban, on Thursday, the KwaZulu-Natal health authorities said.

MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo said the victim was rushed to an operating theatre, but attempts to save him failed.

The name of the dead man could not be released as his next-of-kin had all been informed.

Speaking at the hospital on Thursday afternoon, Dhlomo said he could not comment on the circumstances of the shooting, as it was subject to a police investigation.

He declined to confirm reports that the shooter was a disgruntled ex-worker.

He also declined to answer questions about security policies at the hospital.

A large sign prohibiting firearms was displayed outside the main  entrance, next to the security office.

In an earlier statement, health department spokesman Sam Mkhwanazi said the man's family had been informed and that hospital  psychologists and counselling services were being offered to the family and staff members.

Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said: "The alleged gunman  is on the run; police are looking for him." - Sapa