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Joan Rivers considered suicide after husband's suicide: Always preached optimism

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Joan Rivers died at age 81 on Sept. 4 at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. Her only child, daughter Melissa Rivers, released a statement thanking everyone for their love and support.

It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother. She passed peacefully at 1:17 pm surrounded by family and close friends. My son [Cooper] 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."

Rivers' death came seven days after she went into cardiac and respiratory arrest during a routine throat surgery at Yorkville Endoscopy in New York. The New York Department of Health is currently investigating Yorkville Endoscopy to see what went wrong during her surgery. Joan's death has been reported to the NYC Medical Examiner's Office, and officials will launch an investigation to determine the cause of death, TMZ reported.

Joan's funeral will be held Sunday, Sept. 7, at Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan. A family friend said Rivers has specifically stated that she wanted to live “a full and active life ... and would never want to be a burden on anyone.”

Joan also told Melissa she wants to be cremated after her death. Melissa, 46, is Joan's daughter with her late husband, producer Edgar Rosenberg. Rosenberg committed suicide in 1987.

Wanted to Be Cremated, Had Considered Suicide After Husband's Death

Despite her feisty image, Joan confessed that she briefly considered committing suicide after her husband killed himself. At the time, Melissa wasn't speaking to Joan, and Joan had gotten fired from several jobs.

A distraught Rivers said she had a gun in her lap but was pulled out of her suicidal thoughts after her dog abruptly jumped in her lap. Joan said she was worried that if she killed herself, no one would take care of her dog.

Joan said her husband's suicide forced her to go back to work to support herself and Melissa, and said it may have helped her career in an odd way. "I understand it, and feel terribly sorry for him," said Rivers. "But I wonder if I’d be sitting here today talking to you if he had not killed himself, if we wouldn’t have ended up just a very bitter couple in a house on the hill somewhere."

Joan has since given lectures on depression and suicide, encouraging depressed people to remember that life goes on, and tough times don't last forever.

"I tell people this is a horrible, awful dark moment, but it will change," she said. "You must know it’s going to change and you push forward. I look back and think, 'Life is great, life goes on.'"

Joan revealed her thoughts on aging, depression and overcoming life's tragedies and struggles in her July 2014 memoir, Diary of Mad Diva. Sales of the book have increased 60,000% since her death.

Update: Joan Rivers funeral: Melissa cries over Joan's casket (video)

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