Joan Rivers Dead At Age 81 Following Week-Long Hospitalization

Joan Rivers Dies At 81

Joan Rivers died Thursday at the age of 81, her daughter Melissa Rivers confirmed.

The controversial comedian and "Fashion Police" co-host was rushed to Mount Sinai hospital in New York on Aug. 28 after she stopped breathing during a procedure on her vocal cords at a clinic, TMZ was first to report.

Rivers remained in the hospital and was kept on life support as her condition fluctuated, moving in and out of intensive care throughout the week.

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.

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.

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.

The New York City Medical Examiner told CNN, "We will be investigating the death of Joan Rivers." Prior to the comedian's death on Thursday, The New York state health department told the Associated Press the department is investigating Yorkville Endoscopy on the Upper East Side, the clinic where Rivers was treated before she was rushed to the hospital last week.

The funeral for Rivers will be on Sept. 7 at Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan, the temple's spokeswoman Elizabeth Fezrine told CNN. Details, including the time and if the public will be invited to attend are not known at this time.

Rivers was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1933, and graduated from Barnard College in 1954. She got her start in show business soon after, appearing in off-Broadway plays in the late 1950s and performing stand-up routines in comedy clubs in Greenwich Village in the 1960s. Her first big break came in 1965, when she made her first appearance on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson." In 1968, she landed her first syndicated talk show, "The Joan Rivers Show," which lasted one season, and her profile continued to rise with appearances on "The Tonight Show" and "The Ed Sullivan Show." In 1978 she wrote and directed the film "Rabbit Test," starring Billy Crystal.

She hosted "The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers" for one season, starting in 1987, and in 1989 she returned to daytime TV with "The Joan Rivers Show."

Rivers accomplished an incredible amount in her life, but she is perhaps best known for her presence on the red carpet. She and her daughter "revolutionized the red carpet from a runway -- with little celebrity-reporter interaction -- into its own brand of entertainment that, for many, was just as interesting as the awards ceremony that followed," according to Vanity Fair.

The duo reported on -- and terrorized -- celebrities on the red carpet, asking them "Who are you wearing?" Rivers brought her take-no-prisoners judgments of celebrity fashion to E! in 2002, on the series "Fashion Police," and has hosted segments called "Starlet Or Streetwalker."

Rivers married James Sanger in 1955, but they had the marriage annulled six months later. She then married Edgar Rosenberg in 1965, and together they welcomed a daughter, Melissa, in 1968. Rosenberg committed suicide in 1987. In 1994, Joan and her daughter starred as themselves in the TV movie "Tears and Laughter: The Joan and Melissa Rivers Story."

To better remember the legendary Joan Rivers, please read:

CORRECTION: The date of Joan Rivers' funeral was previously misstated.

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