A week after her mother was hospitalized in New York City, Melissa Rivers announced Thursday afternoon that legendary comedian Joan Rivers has died. She was 81.
"It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers," Melissa Rivers said in a statement. "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. 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."
Support for Melissa Rivers and her 13-year-old son, Cooper, immediately spread on social media. A co-host of "Fashion Police" for four years and a red carpet mainstay, Rivers was remembered by her employers in a statement:
"E! and NBCUniversal send our deepest condolences to Melissa, Cooper and her entire extended family on this incredibly sad day. For decades Joan has made people laugh, shattered glass ceilings and revolutionized comedy. She was unapologetic and fiercely dedicated to entertaining all of us and has left an indelible mark on the people that worked with her and on her legions of fans. She’s been a much beloved member of the E! family for over 20 years and the world is less funny without her in it. Today our hearts are heavy knowing Joan will not be bounding through the doors.”
Flowers will be placed at her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Thursday afternoon. Rivers' funeral services will take place on Sunday at Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan.
First published September 4 2014, 12:47 PM