Joan Rivers, the legendary comedian, TV personality, actress, and red carpet host, passed away Thursday after over a week long struggle in which she was kept alive on life support and put into a medically induced coma. She was 81.
“It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers. 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,” Rivers’ daughter Melissa wrote on Rivers’ personal website.
Deadline reports that Rivers was rushed to a hospital after undergoing a minor procedure, during which time she stopped breathing. Her status throughout the week had been updated to “stable,” but she remained in critical condition.
“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,” Melissa Rivers wrote. “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.”
Rivers started her career back in the mid-’60s, during which time she appeared in sketches on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, eventually serving as a guest host in 1986 and later leveraging that experience to launch her own show, the short lived The Late Show the same year.
Rivers was always known as being a blunt, provocative comedian who could step over the line frequently and still be hilarious while doing so, lampooning her own appearance and anatomy as well as those of the many A-listers and other stars she interviewed in red carpet Oscars and awards specials for years.
In 1989 she launched a new daytime talk show, The Joan Rivers Show, for which she won a Daytime Emmy. Rivers was also profiled in the 2010 documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work and most recently starred in a show for the E! Network called Fashion Police.
Just prior to her hospitalization, Rivers was promoting her 12th book, Diary of a Mad Diva. During her book tour, she walked out on an interview with CNN because the host “was not the person to interview someone who does humor.” Days later, a host who does know, David Letterman, walked out on her, in jest of course.
Prior to her death, The Wrap reported several celebrities tweeting well wishes to Rivers’ recovery, including Sarah Silverman, Bette Midler, Cher and her Fashion Police co-host Kelly Osbourne.