According to a statement released by her daughter Melissa, comedy icon Joan Rivers died today, a week after being rushed to the hospital following complications from a throat procedure at an Upper East Side doctor's office. The State Health Department is investigating the clinic.
Rivers was 81.
"It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers," Melissa said in a statement. "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. 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."
Rivers was a comedic pioneer. Born Joan Alexandra Molinsky in Brooklyn in 1933, Rivers began her career doing stand-up. She got her big break on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in the 1960s and would go on to perform on the late night talk show circuit.
Known for her punchy one-liners and unapologetic, acerbic wit, Rivers would eventually get her own late-night show, The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers, on Fox in 1986. She was the first woman to ever host a late-night talk show.
Rivers also authored a dozen books and was the supreme red carpet fashion critic. Rivers was recently hard at work co-hosting her E! show, Fashion Police, critiquing Emmy and VMA fashion.
Rivers was able to find humor in everything, including her own darkest moments. From her insecurities to her husband's suicide, nothing was off the table for the sharp-tongued funny woman.
She is survived by her daughter, Melissa, and her grandson, Cooper.