Joan 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."