Comedienne, Author and Talk Show Host Joan Rivers Dead at 81

Photo of Joan Rivers backstage at QVC with her beloved dog Teegan

Comedienne and entrepreneur Joan Rivers died today at the age of 81. Her daughter Melissa made the announcement this afternoon.

Joan died at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan surrounded by her family, according to Melissa. She was rushed to the hospital last week when a routine throat procedure went horribly wrong. She had hoarseness which was getting worse and was undergoing a procedure in connection with that which was considered routine. But during the procedure she went into respiratory and cardiac arrest and when the EMTs arrived she was not breathing. They rushed her to the hospital and put her into a medically induced coma.

Melissa flew out from the West coast with her son to be by her mother's side as soon as she heard about it. Joan had been moved out of ICU into a private room that Melissa had decorated to make it more cheery. Her beloved dog Teegan was allowed to visit and Melissa had her mother's hair and nails done. It's not clear whether Joan ever regained consciousness, but she never got off life support. Some reports say that after eight days and brain scans that Melissa had to make the heartbreaking decision to take her mother off life support in accordance with her wishes.

In her statement, Melissa thanked the fans and friends for their outpouring of support. Of her mother she said, "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."

Joan's career was extraordinary. She was a trailblazer for women, who were a rarity in comedy when she began doing standup. From her big break on The Tonight Show, to the hard times when her husband committed suicide and gigs dried up, Joan never gave up. She worked tirelessly and was in great shape at 81.

According to CNN, the New York State Department of Health is now investigating Yorkville Endoscopy the clinic where Joan was having the throat procedure. Joan survived many plastic surgeries over the years without any problems, so the fact that she went into cardiac arrest during a minor procedure is extremely disturbing. The clinic so far has refused comment to the many press inquiries.

Joan's show on E!, Fashion Police, has been put on hiatus. The future of her popular line of jewelry and clothing on QVC is unclear, but it's hard to see how they could continue without Joan.

If you haven't seen the documentary about Joan called Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, we highly recommend it. Joan reveals quite a bit about what it drives her and her amazing work ethic. She was a true original and she will be greatly missed.

Poster for Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work


Photo: Joan Rivers/Instagram

Posted on September 4, 2014

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