Comedian Joan Rivers dies aged 81

Joan Rivers has died in hospital in New York at the age of 81.

Comedian Joan Rivers, who has died
Comedian Joan Rivers, who has died

The American comedian suffered a heart attack in a doctor's surgery last Thursday and was admitted to the Mount Sinai Hospital.

Her daughter Melissa said in a statement: " It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers.

"She passed peacefully at 1.17pm 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 day before her death, Rivers was moved out of intensive care and her daughter said she was "being kept comfortable", but her condition deteriorated .

Rivers had one daughter, Melissa, and one grandson, Cooper. Her husband, Edgar Rosenberg, died in 1987.

Melissa Rivers added: " 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."

British-born best-selling novelist Barbara Taylor Bradford said: " It is with great sorrow that (husband) Bob and I have just heard of Joan's passing today.

"What a terrible loss to her daughter, Melissa, and her grandson, Cooper, and to all of her friends and fans. Joan was a great friend to have.

"Aside from her humour and comedic talents, she also made her friends laugh in private. Hospitable and generous to a fault, she was loyal and always there for all of us. She will be terribly missed.

"Bob and I send many condolences and much love to Melissa, Cooper and their family. Just imagine: we won't hear those witty, sometimes caustic, but always funny one-liners ever again.

"Goodbye Joan Rivers. You'll always be in our hearts."

Comedian Ricky Gervais was among stars who paid tribute to Rivers.

He wrote on Twitter: " RIP the mighty Joan Rivers. Funny & fearless. Truly one of a kind."

Actor Hugh Jackman said: " We lost one of the true originals today. Joan Rivers. A force. You will be missed."

US television host Larry King tweeted: "Joan Rivers was a dear and wonderful friend who I've known for 45 years. Great guest, pal, comedian & mother. We will never see her likes again."

Rivers was a veteran of showbusiness, with half a century working in entertainment under her belt.

She was known for her acid tongue and for undergoing plastic surgery.

In 2010 she joked: "With all the plastic surgery I've had I'm worried that when I die, God won't recognise me!"

She was host of Fashion Police and also had an online talk show called In Bed With Joan.