Wise-cracking comedienne Joan Rivers, known for her sharp jabs at pop culture icons, has passed away. She was 81. “It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers,” Melissa Rivers wrote in a statement Thursday (Sept. 4). “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.” The Fashion Police host went into cardiac arrest on Aug. 28 during a throat procedure in New York City. Several days later, Melissa said that she had been placed on life support (Sept. 2). Melissa 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.”
Joan Rivers will always be a pioneer. She paved the way for a lot of comedians. I’m very sad she’s gone. pic.twitter.com/i1uE9fyHMh
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) September 4, 2014
Known for her acid tongue and love of plastic surgery, Joan Rivers powered through as a woman in a male-dominated business, becoming a household name on her mentor’s show The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson just before launching her own short-lived talk gig in 1986. Rivers then became an acid-tongued fashion critic (she pioneered asking “Who are you wearing?” on the red carpet), a reality TV star and author..= She admitted that she thought a lot about her own death in her last major interview with The Daily Beast in July. “Constantly. In your 80s, you’d be foolish not to think about that. I am definitely going to be cremated. I’ve left money so the dogs can be taken care of. I’ve said to Melissa, ‘Sell anything and everything you don’t want. Don’t feel beholden to my possessions.’ I feel almost hysterical on that. I don’t want them to have a sense of guilt.” Joan is survived by her daughter and grandson, Cooper.