Joan Rivers, the comedian known for her bold humor and scathing one-liners, has passed away at 81. The news was confirmed by her daughter Melissa to Reuters.
Rivers was rushed to the hospital in New York City on August 28, TMZ reported, after an emergency call was placed for someone in "either cardiac or respiratory arrest." She was reportedly undergoing throat surgery for her vocal chords when her breathing stopped. The New York Police Department confirmed that Rivers was in critical condition.
Rivers remained on life support through Tuesday after being hospitalized in serious condition due to cardiac arrest last week, her daughter Melissa Rivers said.
“It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers,” Melissa Rivers said in an emailed statement. “She passed peacefully at 1:17 p.m. surrounded by family and close friends. My son and I would like to thank the doctors, nurses, and staff of Mount Sinai Hospital for the amazing care they provided for my mother.”
Melissa added, "My mother's greatest joy in life was to make people laugh. Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon."
While she was known more today for her celebrity tongue-lashing on E!'s Fashion Police, Rivers made her career as a extraordinary comedian, trailblazing as a woman in a field dominated by men with her own relentless brand of humor.
UPDATE: CNN reports that the New York medical examiner office "will be investigating the death of Joan Rivers," since the comedian stopped breathing and suffered a heart attack during what was supposedly minor procedure. The clinic, Yorkville Endoscopy, will be investigated by the health department, although no wrongdoing is suspected.