BREAKING: Joan Rivers cause of death confirmed.

Joan Rivers


Joan Rivers’ final cause of death has been determined by the New York Chief Medical Examiner to be brain damage due to lack of oxygen.

The 81-year old comedian died on September 4 after “a predictable complication” during a medical procedure.

“The classification of a death as a therapeutic complication means that the death resulted from a predictable complication of medical therapy,”

The statement further revealed that Rivers visited Yorkville Endoscopy on Aug. 28 for a laryngoscopy and an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, and she was put under propofol sedation to evaluate changes to her voice.

Her daughter, Melissa Rivers has said that the family continued to be saddened by the tragic loss.


Mamamia previously reported:

Joan Rivers has died aged 81.

The Fashion Police host and comedienne passed away peacefully in hospital on Thursday afternoon.

Her daughter Melissa Rivers said in a written 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.”

Joan and daughter Melissa

Melissa Rivers said she and her son Cooper “have found (them)selves 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,” she said.

There has been an outpouring of grief from celebrities on social media following the death, with Ellen DeGeneres tweeting “Joan Rivers will always be a pioneer. She paved the way for a lot of comedians. I’m very sad she’s gone.”

“Watching Joan Rivers do standup at age 81 was incredible: athletic, jaw-dropping, terrifying, essential. It never stopped. Neither will she,” Lena Dunham tweeted.

Donald Trump wrote: “Joan Rivers @Joan_Rivers was an amazing woman and a great friend. Her energy and talent were boundless. She will be greatly missed.”

Richard Wilkins tweeted Joan’s funeral requests that she had previously told daughter Melissa:

The news comes after Rivers suffered a cardiac arrest during throat surgery on 28 August.

She was rushed from the clinic to a hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital, in critical condition and her daughter, Melissa Rivers, flew to New York to be by her side.


E! News reports a source said the operation was not a major one, but said: ‘They were putting a scope down her throat to check her vocal cords. She stopped breathing.’ 

Joan Rivers as a young woman.

Rivers was placed in a medically-induced coma at Manhattan’s Mount Sinai Hospital following the operation, and was kept on life support as her condition fluctuated.

There was an outpouring of support from celebrities including Lena Dunham, Charlie Sheen and Courtney Love Cobain on social media following news of Rivers’ hospitalisation.

Earlier this week, Melissa Rivers announced that her mother had “been moved out of intensive care and into a private room where she is being kept comfortable.”

“On behalf of my mother and our family, we are extremely grateful for all the love and support we’ve received. I know my mother would be overwhelmed by the continued outpouring of kindness and I want to thank everyone for keeping us in their prayers,” she said.

Joan Rivers was born in 1933 in Brooklyn, New York, as Joan Alexandra Molinsky. She was the youngest daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants.

After graduating from Barnard College in 1954, she worked in the fashion industry for years; her first big break in entertainment was in 1965, when she made her first appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.


Rivers shot to fame as a self-deprecating comedienne throughout the ’60s and ’70s, making appearances on The Tonight Show and The Ed Sullivan Show.

A promotional portrait of Joan Rivers from the 1980s. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Throughout her career she opened for acts as diverse as Helen Reddy and Sergio Franchi in Las Vegas, and hosted her own late night talk show, The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers, one of the few women to do so.

She also authored 12 books, ranging from humour to self-help.

In recent years Rivers attracted controversy for her scathing critiques of red carpet outfits on the E! Channel’s Fashion Police. She was still hosting “Fashion Police” on the network at the time of her death.

Rivers was married twice, and had her only child, daughter Melissa, with Edgar Rosenberg, a producer and later Rivers’ manager and business partner who died in 1987.

Rivers was often joined on TV by her daughter. She once said: “My daughter and I are very close. We speak every single day, and I call her every day and I say the same thing, ‘Pick up, I know you’re there’.”

Rivers leaves behind Melissa and teenage grandson Cooper.

Our thoughts are with them.


What memories do you have of Joan Rivers?

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