Comedian Joan Rivers died Thursday at the age of 81. Credit: Reuters
Comedian Joan Rivers died on Thursday in New York a week after suffering cardiac arrest during an outpatient medical procedure, her daughter said in a statement. She was 81.
"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," Melissa Rivers said.
Rivers was placed on life support after she stopped breathing and suffered cardiac arrest during outpatient surgery on her vocal cords at a nearby clinic on Aug. 28.
Known for her acerbic brand of humor, Rivers had a lengthy career and most recently was host of E!'s "Fashion Police," commenting on the unfortunate red carpet choices of Hollywood celebrities.
"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 added.
Rivers once described herself as the "plastic surgery poster girl" and joked about her numerous procedures.
During her lengthy career, the husky-voiced, Brooklyn-born comedian won fame for her scathing put-downs and was known for asking, "Can we talk?"
Rivers wanted to be an actress but got into comedy after writing sketches for television's "The Ed Sullivan Show." A career in stand-up followed. She later worked as a regular guest host for Johnny Carson on NBC's "The Tonight Show."
When she started her own late-night talk show in 1986, on the rival Fox network, it caused a falling-out with Carson that lasted until he died in 2005. Rivers' show was canceled after seven months.
Rivers also hosted an Emmy Award-winning daytime talk show, "The Joan Rivers Show," and later “Fashion Police,” commenting on the unfortunate red carpet choices of Hollywood celebrities.
Rivers won Donald Trump's reality TV show "The Apprentice" in 2009 and has starred in the reality TV program "Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?"