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Comedian Joan Rivers Dies at Age 81

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Joan Rivers diesJoan Rivers, a pioneering female stand-up comic and the queen of "Can We Talk?" gossip, has died. She was 81, her daughter, Melissa Rivers, said Thursday.

Rivers was undergoing surgery on her vocal cords at a clinic in New York City on Aug. 28 when she stopped breathing and had to be transported to Mount Sinai Hospital. Melissa Rivers and her 13-year-old grandson, Cooper, who lived with her in Malibu, California, rushed to her bedside.

"My mother's greatest joy in life was to make people laugh," Melissa Rivers said in a statement. "Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon."

Raspy-voiced and brassy, Rivers was always self-deprecating, foul-mouthed and politically incorrect. A master of reinvention, she endured in show business because of her tenacious work ethic — which she credited to her "immigrant mentality."

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