Joan Rivers: Comedy Queen-Turned-Fashion Critic Dies (VIDEO)

Source: Maria Puente / USA Today

Joan Rivers, the pioneering queen of comedy, who overcame tragedy and disappointment to transform herself in late life into a comic scourge of the red carpet, has died, according to her daughter, Melissa Rivers. She was 81.

She died today at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, where she was rushed after she stopped breathing during surgery on her vocal chords at an endoscopy clinic on Aug.28.

“It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers,” Melissa Rivers said in a statement today. “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.”

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