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Comedian Joan Rivers, once saved by her dog, has died

Joan Rivers
Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

According to Thursday's ABC News, Joan Rivers, the legendary comedian, writer and actress, has died at the age of 81. Few people may know that Rivers would not have lived to see her 80s if not for dog...who she credits with saving her life years ago.

After Rivers' second husband, Edgar Rosenberg, committed suicide in 1987, and her career took a tailspin, Rivers had seriously contemplated suicide. In fact, she had a gun, which she was prepared to use, when her dog jumped in her lap; Rivers described what transpired in an interview with The Daily Beast:

What saved me was my dog jumped into my lap. I thought, “No one will take care of him.” It wasn’t a friendly dog—only to me. I adored this dog. He was theoretically a Yorkie, his mother cheated. His name was Spike. He was the way you want your dog to be, devoted only to you. I was sitting in this big empty house in Bel Air, with a phone with five extensions which we no longer needed. I had the gun in my lap, and the dog sat on the gun. I lecture on suicide because things turn around. I tell people this is a horrible, awful dark moment, but it will change and you must know it’s going to change and you push forward. I look back and think, “Life is great, life goes on. It changes.”

Rivers went in for vocal cord surgery on August 28 and suffered cardiac arrest during the procedure; she was rushed to New York's Mount Sinai Hospital where she was put on life support.

Rivers' daughter, Melissa, broke the news of her mother's death on Thursday:

"It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers,"

"She passed peacefully at 1:17pm 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."

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