Sep 04, 2014 03:34 PM EST

Joan Rivers Passes Away at 81

Joan Rivers Passes Away at 81
Joan Rivers, who was hospitalized last week after suffering from cardiac arrest, passed away this afternoon.  She was 81.

Her daughter, Melissa, issued the following 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. 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 stopped breathing last week, during a vocal chord checkup.  She was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital and has been there, unconscious, ever since.  

The entertainment legend leaves behind her daughter, Melissa, and grandson, Cooper.

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