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20 die in Florida US club shooting

More than 40 people have been wounded during the shooting at Pulse Club in Orlando Florida.

Shooting erupted early on Sunday at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida and "multiple" people have been injured, police said. Picture: @OrlandoPolice.

JOHANNESBURG/ORLANDO - Authorities in Orlando Florida have confirmed 20 people have died and more than 40 people have been wounded during a shooting at a nightclub.

Police say the gunman who was shot dead inside Pulse Club held several clubgoers hostage earlier today.

It's not clear what sparked the shooting.

Authorities say they entered the club and exchanged gunfire with the shooter in order to save the hostages.

The police's John Mina said, "Our SWAT officers exchanged gunfire with the suspect, the suspect is dead and appeared to be carrying a rifle and a hand gun and had some type of device on him."

Several patrons had posted on social media that a gunman was holed up inside and holding hostages.

One man who said he was inside the club posted that the shooting broke out around 2am and that he heard about 40 shots being fired.

Javer Antonetti, 53, told the Orlando Sentinel newspaper that he was near the back of the dance club when he heard the gunfire.

"There were so many (shots), at least 40," he said. "I saw two guys and it was constant, like 'pow, pow, pow,'."

Police said they had carried out a "controlled explosion" at the club hours after the shooting broke out, but did not say why that was done. They described the scene as a "fluid situation".

Video posted online showed a large number of police and emergency vehicles outside the nightclub. Bomb sniffing dogs were also on the scene, CNN reported.

It was the second deadly shooting at an Orlando night spot in as many nights. Late Friday a man thought to be a deranged fan fatally shot Christina Grimmie, a rising singing star and a former contestant on "The Voice", while she was signing autographs after a concert in the Florida city.

Additional reporting by Reuters.