Joan Rivers, the actress and comedienne renowned for her withering verbal put-downs, has been rushed to hospital in New York after she stopped breathing while undergoing throat surgery at a Manhattan clinic, sources told US media.
Rivers, 81, was “resting comfortably” after a cardiac arrest, her daughter Melissa said.
“We ask that you continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers,” Ms Rivers said in a statement. She offered thanks for the “overwhelming love and support for my mother.”
She was reportedly taken to Mt Sinai Hospital in critical condition on Thursday morning after she stopped breathing during surgery on her vocal cords at an endoscopy clinic on the Upper East Side.
Rivers suffered cardiac arrest, according to some reports, and her daughter Melissa was believed to be on her way to New York to be at her mother’s bedside.
Her hospitalization was confirmed by Sid Dinsay, a Mt Sinai spokesman.
“This morning, Joan Rivers was taken to The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, where she is being attended to,” he said. “Her family wants to thank everybody for their outpouring of love and support.”
Rivers is no stranger to controversy and this summer she walked out of a live CNN interview in protest at the questions as she was publicising her new memoir, “Diary of a Mad Diva”.
She is the current co-host of “Fashion Police” on the E! television channel and also helps hosts CNN’s New Year coverage from Times Square.
The tart-tongued comedienne has often been criticized for her making insensitive jokes. Last year, she was criticized by some Jewish groups for making jokes about Holocaust. “This is the way I remind people about the Holocaust,” Rivers, who is Jewish, replied. “I do it through humor.”
And during this month’s Gaza conflict, she caused fresh controversy when she told a website that that Palestinian civilians “deserve to be dead”, but she later insisted her words had been taken out of context.
Earlier this week Rivers gave a talk at the Time-Life building in New York when she told her audience she had no physical ailments.
Describing herself as “lucky” she said she did not follow a special diet, joking that her consumption of sugar and processed food was probably what preserved her body.
By Philip Sherwell