Joan Rivers is dead at age 81, daughter Melissa announced today. The comedian "passed peacefully surrounded by family and close friends," said the statement. (Read it in full here.) As the Daily News recounts, the news comes after Rivers stopped breathing during a routine throat procedure on Aug. 28 and ended up on life support at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. She never recovered. “My mother’s greatest joy in life was to make people laugh," wrote Melissa. "Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing too.”
The AP has a comprehensive obituary of Rivers' life, including a low point in the mid-1980s when husband Edgar Rosenberg committed suicide after her Fox show was canceled. It also recounts how Johnny Carson helped launch her career—"God, you're funny," he told her on his show in 1965—but then stopped speaking with her years later when she launched a competing talk show. Meanwhile, the clinic that performed the Aug. 28 throat procedure is now under review by state authorities, and the New York City Medical Examiner's Office will conduct its own investigation into the comedian's death, reports TMZ.
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