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Comedian Joan Rivers has died, daughter confirms

NEW YORK (AP) - Joan Rivers, the raucous, acid-tongued comedian who crashed the male-dominated realm of late-night talk shows and turned Hollywood red carpets into danger zones for badly dressed celebrities, died Thursday. She was 81.

Melissa Rivers released a statement through her publicist on Thursday.

"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," Melissa Rivers 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," Rivers adds.

Rivers was hospitalized last week after she went into cardiac arrest at a Manhattan doctor's office following a routine procedure. Daughter Melissa Rivers said she died surrounded by family and close friends.

Rivers - who opened her routine with the trademark "Can we talk?" - never mellowed during a decades-long career. She moved from longtime targets such as Elizabeth Taylor, whom she famously ridiculed as fat, to new faces, and continued to appear in clubs and on TV into her 80s.


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