updated 11/18/2006 9:22:31 PM ET 2006-11-19T02:22:31

An armed gunman died after he opened the door to his suburban Chicago hospital room at the end of a 4½ hour standoff Saturday and pointed his gun at police, who opened fire, authorities said.

The 58-year-old man died of a gunshot wound to the head. He appeared to have shot himself, but police were still investigating, Aurora Police spokesman Dan Ferrelli said. Authorities have not yet released his identity.

It wasn’t clear whether the gunman ever fired at the officers, police said, correcting earlier reports. Police also fired tear gas before entering the room and finding the man dead on the floor.

The gunman had briefly held a 71-year-old patient hostage in the room at Provena Mercy Medical Center, but released him unharmed after police intervened. No one else was injured.

Authorities were first called to the scene on a report of an “unruly patient,” Aurora Police Chief William Powell said. The first officer to reach the floor where the man had barricaded himself reported the man said he wanted police to shoot him.

Authorities had relocated 26 patients the floor and locked down the hospital about 30 miles west of Chicago.

Provena Mercy CEO Bill Brown refused to release any information about the dead patient, citing patient confidentiality laws.

“Patient care and safety was never interrupted or compromised and things are back to normal at our hospital right now,” Brown said Saturday evening.

Hospital officials plan to review security policies, Brown said.

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