The seminal entertainer Joan Rivers died today in New York. She was 81 years old.
During a routine outpatient procedure last week, Rivers suddenly went into cardiac arrest and was rushed to Cedars Sinai hospital. She arrived unconscious and remained sedated for the week, before being moved to intensive care. After spending time on life support, the actress passed away this afternoon in the loving embrace of her family.
In a statement, her daughter Melissa Rivers said:
“It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers. 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.”
She went on to say that she and her son, Rivers’ grandson:
“…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.”
After fifty years in showbiz, the Emmy-award winning comedian was most recently seen on the E! show, Fashion Police, the web series In Bed With Joan and the reality show Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best. Known the world over for her caustic and achingly-funny comments on celebrity fashion and culture, Rivers made a name for herself as the queen of the red carpet. Her famous barb, “Who are you wearing?” became synonymous with her biting commentary dished out at awards ceremony pre-shows.
During her final performance at the Beechman Theatre in New York last Wednesday, she joked about her mortality, telling her audience:
‘You know I’m 81 years old, and I could drop dead at any moment — and you would be so lucky because you will have a story to tell your friends for the rest of your life.”
Rest in peace, Joan Rivers. You will be missed.