American comedian and television host Joan Rivers died in a New York hospital on Thursday, a week after suffering cardiac arrest during surgery on her vocal cords. She was 81.
Melissa Rivers, the comedian’s only child, said her mother died peacefully, surrounded by family and friends, at 1:17 p.m. EDT (1:17 a.m. Friday in Hong Kong).
“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,” Melissa Rivers said in a statement.
Rivers was the second leading American comedian to die in less than a month. Academy-award winner actor Robin Williams, 63, hanged himself in California on Aug. 13.
Brooklyn-born Rivers, who once described herself as “the plastic surgery poster girl” and often joked about her numerous cosmetic enhancements, suffered cardiac arrest during an outpatient procedure on her vocal cords at a Manhattan clinic on Aug. 28, Reuters reported. She was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital, where she was put on life support.
New York’s state health department said the clinic is under investigation, but a spokesperson for Rivers denied media reports that her family was planning to sue the clinic.
Rivers had a lengthy career that included stand-up comedy, television, writing and an Emmy Award-winning daytime talk show, The Joan Rivers Show.
Most recently Rivers was the host of cable television channel E!’s Fashion Police, the report said.
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