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Legendary comedienne Joan Rivers passes away at 81

After being rushed to the hospital after falling into cardiac arrest during a minor surgery last week, Emmy-winning, best-selling author and comedienne Joan Rivers died today, September 4, 2014, in New York. She was 81.

Rivers at one of her book signings
Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Her daughter, Joan Rivers, delivered a statement earlier this afternoon saying,

It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers.” She passed peacefully at 1:17 PM 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. 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 was known for her bold, brash and quick-witted style of comedy. She made a name for herself on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” in 1965 and remained a staple of American comedy ever since. After hosting her own Emmy award winning late night talk show in the 80s, Rivers broadened her work and began writing bestselling books and eventually became the star of “Fashion Police,” where she became known for her hilarious and brutal criticisms of celebrities’ fashion choices. She was also known for starring in several revealing films about her personal life.

Although Rivers often faced criticism for her brazen remarks, she kept critics at bay by poking fun at herself, most notably her extensive plastic surgery, saying things like “When they bury me and dig me up, they'll discover I'm absolutely non-biodegradable and non-recyclable.”

After nearly half a century in the spotlight, Rivers made a name for herself as the “Queen of Comedy,” a title which will undoubtedly remain hers for years to come. Joan may be gone, but she left behind a tremendous volume of work full of brilliant, sharp humor that will keep her fans laughing.