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After battle with bulimia, Joan Rivers dies at 81: Her confession to Dr. Oz

Joan Rivers is dead at 81.
Joan Rivers is dead at 81.
Photo by Jeff Schear

Joan Rivers is dead at 81 after a routine medical procedure turned into a life-threatening emergency. Her daughter Melissa Rivers made the announcement, saying, "It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers," reported People magazine on Sept. 4.

Expressing her appreciation for the love and support that she received, Melissa asked fans to celebrate Joan's life. "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," she requested.

Joan talked with Dr. Mehmet Oz on his talk show several times about the battle with bulimia that she tried to hide. She also admitted that she suffered from negative body image.

But although Dr. Oz cautioned Joan about the dangers of bulimia, she told him that she felt good when she was purging. Joan revealed that she felt that she had found a way to stay slim and eat what she wanted.

TV talk show king Johnny Carson is credited for giving Joan her first national exposure on the "Tonight Show." Joan became permanent guest host, challenging the conventions of what was acceptable to say on television. She also frequently attacked famous people, winning praise for her courage while receiving criticism for her sometimes tactless comments.

Joan became so successful that Fox Network invited her to take on the challenge of hosting her own TV talk show. Although it did not last, it served as a doorway to other opportunities, from writing books to taking on the role with her daughter of criticizing the fashion world.

With her frequent appearances on TV talk shows throughout her life, Joan proved that women in the entertainment industry can succeed as long as they desire. Most recently, she appeared on David Letterman’s talk show, reported Page Six on Sept. 4.

After having walked out of an interview with CNN, Joan mocked herself with Letterman's help. She ignored the concept of political political correctness. As her daughter Melissa pointed out, Joan loved making people laugh.

"Somebody said, 'You can make six dollars standing up in a club.' And I said, ‘Here I go!’ It was better than typing all day," Joan summed up her decision to become a comedienne.