Legendary comic force of nature Joan Rivers has passed away this afternoon at the age of 81. Her daughter, Melissa, made the announcement via a statement.
"It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers. She passed peacefully at 1:17 PM 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,” Melissa said in the statement.
"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."
Rivers was a staple on The Tonight Show, where she broke barriers as the first female host of late night and even had a fine career in film, directing Billy Crystal in the late '70s comedy The Rabbit Test. Crystal, who recently paid tribute to Robin Williams at the Emmys, will surely release a statement soon and we’ll bring it to you.
For those who want to discover (or relive) the greatness that was Rivers, be sure to check out the astounding documentary that recently chronicled her glass ceiling-breaking work and watch Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work online.