Doctors fear stroke could leave Joan Rivers 'either a vegetable or in a wheelchair' as they begin two-day process to bring her out of her coma as daughter says 'we are keeping our fingers crossed'
- Doctors have started the process of bringing Joan Rivers out of her medically-induced coma
- They fear she could be left as 'a vegetable' or 'needing a wheelchair'
- The waking-up process began on Sunday at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and will take until Tuesday
- Daughter Melissa released a statement saying 'We are keeping our fingers crossed' and thanking all those who have expressed their support
- Rivers rushed from LA to New York on Thursday with her teenage son Cooper to be by her mother's bedside
- Rivers would not want to live unless she could enjoy 'a full and active life. ... (She) would never want to be a burden on anyone' said a source
- The 81-year-old was having surgery on her vocal cords at a clinic when she suddenly stopped breathing during the procedure on Thursday
By DAVID MCCORMACK and SNEJANA FARBEROV FOR MAIL ONLINE
PUBLISHED: 01:38, 1 September 2014 | UPDATED: 05:32, 1 September 2014
Doctors have started the process of bringing Joan Rivers out of her medically-induced coma, but fear she could be left as 'a vegetable' or 'needing a wheelchair' as they battle to save her life.
The waking-up process began on Sunday at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and will take until Tuesday.
'We are keeping our fingers crossed,' her daughter, Melissa Rivers, said in a statement, thanking people who have expressed support for the 81-year-old comedian.
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Daughter Melissa, 46, released a statement on Sunday thanking everyone for their messages of support. She is pictured on Thursday, with 13-year-old son Cooper (left), after rushing to the airport in LA to catch a flight to NYC to be with her mother
'There is real concern that the part of the brain that controls motor skills may have been compromised leaving her as either a vegetable or in a wheelchair,' a source close to the family told the Daily News.
Daughter Melissa, 46, released a statement on Sunday thanking everyone for their messages of support and gave a brief update on her mother's condition.
'My mother would be so touched by the tributes and prayers that we have received from around the world,' she said.
'Her condition remains serious but she is receiving the best treatment and care possible. We ask that you continue to keep her in your thoughts as we pray for her recovery.'
Worried sick: Kelly Osbourne, Rivers' Fashion Police co-host, took to Twitter to express her support for the 81-year-old comedian whom she called her 'grandma'
Higher power: Ms Osbourne called on her 3.77million followers to pray for the comatose TV host
Well wisher: Giuliana Rancic (far right), who also hosts Fashion Police, expressed her love for Rivers on Twitter
Mrs Rancic said on Twitter that despite being a strong woman, Joan Rivers is now in need of prayers
While she is doing her best to sound upbeat in public, 'Melissa is apparently totally hysterical and is at a loss for what to do,' the source told the Daily News.
Joan Rivers, who hosts E!’s Fashion Police went into cardiac and respiratory arrest on Thursday morning while undergoing a procedure on her vocal cords at a private clinic on New York City's Upper East Side.
Doctors then put the Emmy-winner into a medically-induced coma to stabilize her vital signs and since then she has been breathing with the help of a life-support machine.
Sources told the Daily News that Rivers would not want to live unless she could enjoy 'a full and active life. ... (She) would never want to be a burden on anyone.'
Rivers has been visited in hospital by some of her closest friends including Margie Stern and Jay Redack.
Redack, who has been a close friend and collaborator of Rivers for 40 years told the Daily News that he was stunned by her sudden health problems since he had gone to dinner with her the night before the supposed minor throat procedure.
Rivers has been visited in hospital by some of her closest friends including Margie Stern and Jay Redack
He said Rivers, who performed a comic routine Wednesday night at the Laurie Beechman Theater near Times Square, showed no signs of a pending medical crisis.
'We talked about life, Melissa, boyfriends, tennis lessons, and talked about her act,' said Redack.
'You know how polarizing she could be, but people don’t realize what a fantastic lady she is, the charities that she supports, without fanfare, without people knowing,' Redack said. 'She is a great person.'
Meanwhile, E! colleagues and a host of other famous well-wishers took to Twitter at the weekend to send prayers to the formidable comedian.
Giuliana Rancic and Kelly Osbourne, Rivers' Fashion Police co-hosts, expressed their love and support for their stricken friend.
High praise: Donald Trump, who met Joan Rivers on Season 2 of Celebrity Apprentice, which the E! presenter won in 2009, called the 81-year-old a dear friend and an amazing woman
Heartfelt: Charlie Sheen joined the chorus of well-wishers, urging Rivers to come back to us
'Praying for @Joan_Rivers and @MelRivers,' Mrs Rancic wrote on Saturday morning. 'Even though Joan's the strongest woman I know, every single prayer counts. I love you, Joan.'
A devastated Ms Osbourne called her 81-year-old co-presenter her ‘grandma’ and added the hashtag 'inconsolable.’
'4 the first time in years I got down on my knees & prayed tonight! I encourage U 2 do the same,' the TV fashionista tweeted at her 3.77million followers on Friday night.
Charlie Sheen also joined the chorus of well-wishers on Twitter, writing: 'Please come back to us young lady.'
Real estate mogul and fellow reality TV maven Donald Trump called Ms Rivers his 'dear friend' and an ‘amazing woman.'
Ms Rivers famously won season 2 of Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice in 2009.
Fellow funnywoman Sarah Silverman tweeted on Friday: 'Jesus Christ, Joan. You can't be in the hospital - you have work to do! This is BULL****.'
The 81-year-old's daughter Melissa, seen here with her mom last year, is in New York and at her mother's bedside at Mount Sinai Hospital
The comic's daughter, Melissa rushed to her mother's side on Thursday after flying from LA to New York.
Melissa is staying at her Upper East Side apartment in the same building where her mother lives as she struggles to cope with the health emergency.
Friends are helping care for Melissa's 13-year-old son Cooper who flew with her from LA. Earlier on Thursday they were pictured at Los Angeles airport as they traveled to be by the star's side.
Joan Rivers is 'resting comfortably' in a medically induced coma just hours after she performed a typically acerbic show in Manhattan and joked about her own death.
She was rushed from an Upper East Side clinic to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition on Thursday morning at 9.40am after she stopped breathing during a routine medical procedure.
A picture of health only the day before, Rivers accepted a bouquet of flowers from a fan as she finished her stand-up performance at around 9.30pm on Wednesday.
The entertainment legend even posed for pictures with a fan on the way out of the Laurie Beechman Theatre, only to suffer respiratory failure less than twelve hours later during surgery on her throat.
Thank you: Joan Rivers accepts a bouquet of flowers from a fan after wrapping up her one hour performance at the Laurie Beechman Theatre on Wednesday night at around 9.30pm
Busy as always: Joan Rivers is pictured here at a press event in New York City on Wednesday evening for her book, Diary of a Mad Diva. She is currently in a medically induced coma at Mount Sinai Hospital after she stopped breathing during vocal cord surgery
While doctors are said to be keen to keep her in a coma until the weekend, there is concern about the length of time her brain was starved of oxygen.
But less than 12 hours before she stopped breathing, Rivers was her usual irrepressible self, making jokes about her own longevity and mortality to an audience of around 100.
'She did a joke onstage, she goes, ‘I’m 81 — I could go at any moment,’ said Shade Rupe, 45.
‘I could fall over right here and you all could say, ''I was there!’
Rupe, who spoke to the New York Daily News, said that Rivers' comedy was as quick-witted as it has always been.
'She was so on,' he said. 'If you had me guess her age, I’d say she was in her 50s. She didn’t miss a step, she didn’t go ditzy, she didn’t forget anything and her timing was amazing.'
Rupe grabbed a picture with the star outside the theater and said that Rivers 'looked fantastic.'
And, as testament to the television host's vigor, Rivers was even promoting her book, Diary of a Mad Diva, before she took to the stage on Wednesday.
Rivers, who has been a fixture on American television since the mid-1960s, was her forthright self according to those who were at the press meet.
When she walked in to take her seat, said Shira Blum, an online project manager, 'She seemed totally healthy. She was very energetic, hilarious, funny. And it was such a shock, a surprise to hear the news this morning.'
Rivers took questions and said she wakes up every morning and 'is thankful that everything works,' Blum added.
The entertainer has logged a half-century in showbusiness and gave rise to red-carpet commentary - and the snarky criticism that often accompanies it. Her signature red carpet query: "Who are you wearing?"
She continues to maintain a busy schedule, and was to perform a show Friday at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, New Jersey. That show was postponed because of her hospitalization.
'She’s not conscious, but she’s stable,' said the comedian's aide Graham Reed, to the New York Daily News, which reported the star was in a coma.
'This morning, Joan Rivers was taken to The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, where she is being attended to,' Sid Dinsay, a spokesman for the hospital, said in a statement this afternoon.
'Her family wants to thank everybody for their outpouring of love and support.'
He said the hospital would provide an update on Rivers' condition as it becomes available.
A source told E! News earlier: 'They were putting a scope down her throat to check her vocal cords. She stopped breathing.'
The source added that the operation was not a major one though Rivers was sedated throughout. It's unclear what medication was used.
TV host Billy Bush said on Facebook that he had exchanged texts with Joan's daughter Melissa who asked him to 'please pray'.
Hospital: NYPD officers wait outside of the main entrance to Mount Sinai hospital on Thursday
He wrote: 'Praying for Joan Rivers who is in critical condition at Mt Sinai hospital in NY. Texted with Melissa Rivers who said 'please pray.' Already doing that. Joan is beloved around here. A regular guest on Access Hollywood Live she never fails to deliver.
'She taped her post Emmy special Tuesday in LA and was strong. This is out of nowhere. Come on Joan you have to make it. Just think of all the material. Sending love and prayers.'
He later tweeted: 'Per Melissa, The mighty @joan_rivers Is in stable condition. That Means her first joke is coming... :)'
Stars took to Twitter to express their shock and to wish Rivers and her family well at this difficult time.
'Get well my friend,' tweeted Kathy Griffin and Ellen DeGeneres wrote, 'I’m thinking about you and sending lots of love your way.'
A host of other stars took to social media and said they were hoping the trail-blazing star recovered.
TMZ reported that an emergency call was placed to 911 at 9:39 a.m. New York time.
The caller told emergency services: 'We have somebody in either cardiac or respiratory arrest.'
The drama unfolded at Yorkville Endoscopy on East 93rd street near Third Avenue, police confirmed.
A woman who answered the phone at the clinic this afternoon told MailOnline: 'I don't know what you're talking about, have a great day!'
According to another E! source, Rivers 'had a lot of energy' and was 'cracking jokes' at a Wednesday event in New York to promote her new book.
Surgery: Rivers stopped breathing while undergoing surgery at Yorkville Endoscopy, pictured, in Manhattan
Similarly on Tuesday, she gave no hint about needed surgery as she taped a special 90 minute edition of her show Fashion Police which aired on E! that same night.
Covering both the Emmy Awards and the MTV VMA's the veteran comedienne's voice did sound raspy but she has become known for her gravelly voice and biting tongue.
Rivers also recently took part in the ASL ice Bucket Challenge not once but three times after celebrities Anne Hathaway, Sarah Jessica Parker and Tara Reid nominated her.
She was to perform a show Friday at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, New Jersey. That show was postponed because of her hospitalization.
The host of 'Fashion Police' on E! network, Rivers also presides over an online talk show, 'In Bed With Joan' and co-stars with her daughter, Melissa, on the WEtv reality show, 'Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?'
Her latest book, Diary of a Mad Diva, was released this summer.
In 2009, Rivers emerged as the winner of NBC's 'The Celebrity Apprentice.'
A documentary, 'Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work,' premiered in theaters in 2010.
Comic legend: Rivers is seen here around 1965. She has been a staple of American culture for half a century
Stars: Rivers interviewed Oprah Winfrey while guest hosting the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson on January 27, 1986
She gave rise to red carpet commentary - and the snarky criticism that often accompanies it. Her signature red carpet query: 'Who are you wearing?'
The often outspoken funny lady - born Joan Alexandra Molinsky - started her career in her native New York performing in comedy clubs across the city and even starred in a play as a lesbian woman with a crush Barbara Streisand in the 1950s.
'Somebody said, "You can make six dollars standing up in a club,"' she told the Associated Press in 2013, 'and I said, "Here I go!" It was better than typing all day.'
Joan started to make a name for herself in the male-dominated comedy world as a guest on The Tonight Show from 1965.
Rivers was a smash on her first booking on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. 'God, you're funny,' Carson told her.
She also started landing guest spots on The Ed Sullivan Show. Taken under the wing of Johnny Carson as a writer, Joan further developed her biting wit.
Going on to host Saturday Night Live during the Eighties, the iconic star was awarded her show by for The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers - it was this show that led to a bitter fallout with her mentor Carson and he never spoke to her again before his death.
Only this year was Joan's ban from ever appearing on the Tonight Show lifted by Jimmy Fallon.
The comedian would eventually be fired from her Fox show after she challenged executives' decision to removed her husband Edgar Rosenberg as a producer.
Edgar was the star's second husband - her first marriage was annulled after just a few months in 1955 - and he tragically committed suicide three months later in May 1987, Joan blamed the 'humiliation' of Fox's treatment.
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