Joan Rivers dead at age 81

Joan Rivers dead at age 81

LAST UPDATED // Friday, 05 September 2014 10:39 Written by // Cec Busby

Ascerbic wit and legendary comedian Joan Rivers, has died.  The stand up comic, red carpet commentator and Fashion Police star was removed from life support today and passed away shortly after surrounded by family and friends.

Rivers was hospitalised last week after a routine procedure to correct problems with her vocal chords ended with the star suffering a medical emergency, which put her into cardiac arrest.

She was admitted to Mount Sinai Hospital shortly after, where her condition was described as critical. Surgeons placed her in a medically induced coma with hopes that she would recover.

Doctors began the process of bringing Rivers out of her coma last weekend amidst rumours that she may be left brain damaged or wheelchair bound.  Rivers however failed to rouse.

She was moved out of intensive care on Wednesday but remained on life support.

On Thursday her daughter Melissa made the difficult decision to take her mother off life support.


Melissa Rivers released the following statement regarding her mother’s passing:

"It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers. She passed peacefully at 1.17pm [New York time on Thursday] surrounded by family and close friends."

Melissa Rivers said she and her son Cooper were "humbled by the outpouring of love, support and prayers we have received from around the world."They have been heard and appreciated."

Melissa Rivers also thanked hospital staff for their care of her mother and suggested her mother would not want people to mourn but carry on laughing, saying her mother’s joy 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 said.

Celebrities have taken to Twitter to mourn the loss of the comedy legend.


Rivers first came to pubic attention in the 1960s as a guest on the Johnny Carson show. She joined the show in 1965 as a gag writer and made her debut in 1966.

"He believed in me more than I believed in me", Rivers told People magazine in 1991.

Despite this, the late comedian said the pair were never freinds, their relationship didnt extend beyond the camera, indeed she told People when the red light went off they had nothing to say to each other. Nonetheless Rivers was Carson's go-to replacement and she hosted the show in his stead on over 80 occasions before becoming the permanent 'guest host' in 1983.

In 1986 the pair had a falling out after contract negotiations with NBC broke down and the comedian finally accepedt the offer to front her own late night show on Fox.

The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers premiered on Oct. 9, 1986. In a PEOPLE profile on Oct. 27 of that year, Rivers recalled standing in front of her own audience and thinking, "For the first time in 53 years, I know, by God, that I truly belong. Nobody can stop me."

Rivers lasted on the show for less than a year before losing her spot as host to Arsenio Hall. She never returned toThe Tonight Show while Carson was alive. Indeed she was blackisted from the show until Jimmy Fallon took over this year when she made her return as a guest on his opening night. It was 49 years since she'd last appeared with Carson.

But Rivers had been doing plenty in the interim, carving out a career as one of the world's best loved comiedians.

Some of Joan's best one-liners

My best birth control now is to just leave the lights on."

"The first time I see a jogger smiling, I'll consider it."

"I have no sex appeal; if my husband didn't toss and turn, we'd never have had the kid."

"You know you're getting old when you buy a sexy sheer nightgown and don't know anyone who can see through it."

"She's so fat, she's my two best friends."

Watch Rivers respond to her ComedCentral roast


Cec Busby

Cec Busby

Cec Busby is the news editor of SX and online editor of

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