81-year old American comedienne Joan Rivers has just died after a week in a medically induced coma.
She had suffered a heart attack last Thursday during a routine throat operation, and had to be placed in a coma. She was then taken to Mount Sinai hospital in Manhattan, New York and never regained consciousness, despite showing signs of improving.
Joan Rivers’ death was announced by her daughter Melissa Rivers, who said “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.”
“She passed peacefully at 1.17pm surrounded by family and close friends.” Melissa added. “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.”
Joan Rivers was born Joan Alexandra Molinsky in Brooklyn, New York, on 8th June 1933 to Jewish immigrants who had fled from the Russian Revolution. Her big break into the comedy industry came in 1965 when she appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
From there, she created a career that lasted five decades, becoming well known for her razor sharp wit, and taking no prisoners when it came to races or genders. Earlier this year, she had caused controversy that suggesting that Barack Obama was gay and his wife Michelle was in fact a man undergoing a sex change operation.
Even more recently she had ranted about having no sympathy for the Palestinians during the war in Gaza outside of an LA airport.
Despite her coloured reputation, celebrities flocked to Twitter to pay tribute:
My friend Joan Rivers has passed away once again to quote Billy Crystal… There are no words. Bon Voyage Joan
— terrycrews (@terrycrews) September 4, 2014
Aww sad to hear of the passing of Joan Rivers
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) September 4, 2014