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Joan Rivers dead at 81: Yorkville Endoscopy investigated over Joan's death

Joan Rivers health update: May be a 'vegetable' after brain damage and coma: Family mulls lawsuit
Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez

Update: Joan Rivers has passed away at 81 after being taken off life support Sept. 4.

Joan Rivers has 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," read the statement. "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."

It continued: "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."

Read more: Joan Rivers dead at 81: Cause of death under review


Joan Rivers was moved out of the intensive care unit (ICU) and into a private room at Mount Sinai Hospital, her daughter Melissa revealed in a statement. “My mother has been moved out of intensive care and into a private room where she is being kept comfortable,” the statement read. “Thank you for your continued support.”

Joan remains on life support but she shows signs of brain functioning, a source told ET. "Preliminary tests appear to rule out brain-dead. There seems to be some function."

Rivers, 81, remains at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York after going into cardiac and respiratory arrest during a routine throat surgery at Yorkville Endoscopy clinic on Aug. 28. Her family is so furious that she stopped breathing during a routine operation they're considering filing a lawsuit against the clinic. The New York Department of Health is currently reviewing Yorkville Endoscopy, which has been contacted twice since last week.

“Shock and upset is turning to anger, and they are looking for someone to blame," said a source. “The night before, she was performing and now she is on life support. An 81-year-old should not have that procedure as an outpatient. Very ill-advised.”

Rivers was brought out of a medically induced coma on Aug. 31 and is breathing with the help of a life support machine. Doctors will monitor Rivers' progress to see what to do next. Melissa Rivers may take her off life support this weekend to see if she can breathe on her own.

A family friend said Rivers has specifically stated that she wants to live “a full and active life ... and would never want to be a burden on anyone.” Joan has also told Melissa she wants to be cremated after her death.

Medically induced comas are usually reserved for traumatic brain injury. The goal is to slow down swelling that puts pressure on the brain and causes damage.

It's unclear the extent of brain damage Joan suffered when she stopped breathing. Most experts say Rivers most likely suffered brain damage. If she survives, she could face weeks or months of physical therapy to regain motor skills, or she could be permanently impaired.

Joan Considered Suicide After Husband Killed Himself

Rivers is no stranger to hospitals or surgeries. Over the years, she has been honest about her numerous plastic surgeries, including several nose jobs, facelifts, brow lifts, liposuction, Botox injections, and chemical peels.

Unlike other Hollywood celebrities who hide and deny their plastic surgeries, Joan doesn't regret her countless cosmetic surgery procedures over the years, saying they dramatically improved her life. "If you can fix it, fix it," she said. "If it makes you happier, I don’t care what anyone says."

Joan's daughter, Melissa, recently said her mother has gotten less inhibited with age, and that living with her is very difficult. Melissa, 46, is Joan's daughter with her late husband, producer Edgar Rosenberg. Rosenberg committed suicide in 1987.

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 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 in a TV interview. "You must know it’s going to change and you push forward. I look back and think, 'Life is great, life goes on.'"

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