BREAKING NEWS: Joan Rivers dies at age 81
- Melissa Rivers put out a statement saying the legendary comic passed away at 1.17pm surrounded by her family
- Rivers' passing comes a week after she was rushed to a hospital after going into cardiac arrest during vocal cord surgery
- She had spent he last few days in a coma and on life support
By MAILONLINE REPORTER
PUBLISHED: 20:01, 4 September 2014 | UPDATED: 20:27, 4 September 2014
Rest in peace: Melissa Rivers released a statement this afternoon announcing the passing of her mother, Joan Rivers, at age 81
Legendary comedienne Joan Rivers died in a Manhattan hospital today, a week after she went into cardiac arrest during a routine throat procedure.
In a statement, her daughter Melissa said the 81-year-old passed away peacefully, surrounded by her family.
The legendary comedienne was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital a week ago after going into cardiac arrest during an outpatient procedure on her vocal chords at another clinic, which is now under investigation.
She has been at the center of American entertainment since her breakthrough in 1965 when she broke through on the Tonight Show. The mother of one, daughter Melissa, and doting grandmother to Melissa’s son, Cooper has most recently hosted Fashion Police on the E! network.
'It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers,’ Melissa Rivers said in a statement released to the press Thursday.
‘She passed peacefully at 1:17pm 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.
‘Cooper and I have found ourselves humbled by the outpouring of love, support, and prayers we have received from around the world. They have been heard and appreciated."
‘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.’
Earlier in the day, TMZ reported that the New York state Department of Health is now looking into Yorkville Endoscopy - the clinic where Rivers had the ill-fate surgery.
State officials said they are reviewing the case, but have yet to launch an official investigation.
Spokesman James O'Hare said Thursday that the department is looking into 'the whole matter.' He declined to discuss specifics.
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Center of attention: The groundbreaking comic enjoyed a decades-long career on stage and screen
Self-deprecating humor: Rivers, who became famous for her numerous plastic surgeries, was the first to poke fun at her altered appearance
Also today E! network announced that Ms Rivers' weekly Fashion Police series has been put on hiatus.
The long-running program, which normally airs fresh episodes on Fridays, is on break this week and next, the network stated, 'as we await Joan and Melissa's return in front and behind the camera.'
Rivers' daughter, Melissa Rivers, is its executive producer.
In its place, the network plans to air two special programs focusing on New York Fashion Week.
Rivers - who opened her routine with the trademark 'Can we talk?' - never mellowed during a decades-long career. She moved from longtime targets such as Elizabeth Taylor, whom she famously ridiculed as fat, to new faces, and continued to appear in clubs and on TV into her 80s.
Melissa Rivers released a statement Wednesday saying that her mother is being 'kept comfortable' after being moved from ICU into a private room.
Heartbreaking: Melissa Rivers said her mother died peacefully surrounded by her family
Dog lover: Hospital staff allowed Rivers' two dogs, including Teegan the Japanese Chin (pictured) to visit her
Shelved: E! network announced that Joan Rivers' show Fashion Police has been put on hiatus
She made no reference to whether or not her mother's condition has improved.
Rivers suffered cardiac arrest and stopped breathing during minor throat surgery on her vocal chords at a New York City hospital last Thursday.
She was left fighting for her life amid fears she might be left a 'vegetable', but friends have since dismissed these claims and said she is improving day by day at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Her daughter flew from Los Angeles following the incident and has remained at her bedside.
The comedy stalwart had reportedly laughed about undergoing 'a little procedure' ahead of her operation.
Under scrutiny: New York state health officials are now looking into Yorkville Endoscopy, the clinic where Rivers underwent the ill-fated procedure on her vocal cords last week
Medical care: Rivers has been at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan since last Thursday
Worried: Rivers' daughter Melissa has been by her mother's bedside since the beginning of her health crisis
Her friend Jay Redack, who was turned away by security when he tried to visit her in hospital, was one of the last people to spend time with her and said she was in good spirits before the surgery.
They had enjoyed dinner on Wednesday night after her hour-long stand-up session at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in Times Square.
'She said her throat was bothering her for a long time,' he told the New York Daily News. 'Her voice was getting more raspy, if that was possible. She said she was just going in for a little procedure in the morning, that was it.'
Tight-knit family: Rivers (center) pictured in 2011 with daughter Melissa and grandson Cooper Endicott
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2744030/BREAKING-NEWS-Joan-Rivers-dies-age-81.html#ixzz3CNSLdczH
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