Joan Rivers, the raucous, acid-tongued American comedian, died today. She was 81.
She was taken to hospital last week after suffering a cardiac arrest at a Manhattan doctor’s office following a routine procedure.
Her daughter Melissa Rivers said she died surrounded by family and close friends.
Miss Rivers – who opened her routine with the trademark “Can we talk?” - never mellowed during a decades-long career. She moved from long-time targets such as Elizabeth Taylor, whom she famously ridiculed as fat, to new faces, and continued to appear in clubs and on TV into her 80s.
The day before her death, Rivers was moved out of intensive care and her daughter said she was ``being kept comfortable'', but her condition deteriorated.
Rivers had one daughter, Melissa, and one grandson, Cooper. Her husband, Edgar Rosenberg, died in 1987.
Melissa Rivers added: “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 state health department is investigating the circumstances surrounding Rivers' cardiac arrest during an outpatient procedure.
Spokesman James O’Hare said the department is looking into “the whole matter”, declining to discuss specifics.