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Comedian Joan Rivers has died at the age of 81

Joan Rivers was one of a kind. The TV comedy world has been hit hard this year with another loss of a television comedy icon. Joan Rivers passed away today, Sep 4, 2014 at the age of 81 in a New York City Hospital. She died following complications including cardiac arrest after throat surgery in an Upper East Side Manhattan clinic. She poked fun at herself as well as others and delighted audiences of many generations. She had a fearless and sarcastic wit that charmed her audiences. She was an American comedian, writer, producer and television host who was best known for her co-hosting the E! Celebrity fashion show called Fashion Police, and lately for her co-starring role with her daughter, Melissa Rivers, in the reality series Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?

Comedian Joan Rivers has died at the age of 81
Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Melissa Rivers made a statement today that she was surrounded by her family and close friends when she passed at 1:17pm ET. She thanked the doctors and nurses at the New York City hospital for all the great care she was given. Melissa included in her statement that her “mother's greatest joy in life was to make people laugh. And although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be to return to laughing soon."

Rivers often credited Johnny Carson of The Tonight Show as being her mentor in the business as she found her fame conducting interviews and doing comedy on the long running show. She is also the author of 12 best-selling books and a devoted animal advocate. She was quoted as saying “I wanted a place where the dogs can get up on the furniture,” she said in an interview with the New York Times. I always say that the fur makes the house look very English.”