After reportedly losing consciousness while undergoing a procedure on her vocal cords at Yorkville Endoscopy, Joan Rivers was moved to Mount Sinai Hospital and placed in a medically induced coma.
On Tuesday, September 3, 2014 the comedienne was moved out of intensive care while still on life support. The next day, Rivers’ daughter Melissa said that she had been moved into a private room and continued to update her mother’s fans on her condition.
In what was undoubtedly a heart-wrenching decision, Joan’s daughter must have permitted her mother to be taken off the life-support she’d been on for a week.
“It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother,” said Melissa in a statement Thursday. “She passed peacefully at 1:17 p.m. 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.” She added, “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.”
In recent years, death came up a lot in Rivers' interviews and jokes as she coped with the loss of good friends. The night before she was hospitalized, Rivers did an hour of stand-up at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in New York City, where she joked, according to the New York Daily News: "I'm 81—I could go at any moment. I could fall over right here and you all could say, 'I was there!'"
She told The Times of London four years ago, "I would not want to live if I could not perform. It's in my will. I am not to be revived unless I can do an hour of stand-up. I don't fear it."
She knew how to toss a zinger. She was unapologetic and fiercely dedicated to making people laugh and the world is a little less funny without her in it. Pity, because we need a good laugh in these trying times.
Rest in peace Joan, Edgar has been waiting a long time for you to join him.
#RIPJoanRivers in lieu of flowers, make fun of easily-offended assholes.
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) September 4, 2014