Joan Rivers on Life Support in NYC Hospital, According to Reports

Joan Rivers continues to fight for her life Sunday morning in a NYC hospital, according to media reports.

1_riversTMZ reports that the comedy icon is not breathing on her own:

According to our sources, the family will have to decide in the next couple of days whether to keep the 81-year-old on life support. We're told the family remains hopeful that if they do decide to turn off the machines, she will make a turn for the better and fight through it.

Rivers was taken to the hospital on Thursday after reportedly after stopping breathing during throat surgery.

Rivers' daughter has said her mother is "resting comfortably" and thanked the public:

Melissa Rivers said in a statement Friday that her mother was "receiving the best treatment and care possible." She also thanked Rivers' fans and friends for their support.

"My mother would be so touched by the tributes and prayers that we have received from around the world," Melissa Rivers said. "Her condition remains serious … We ask that you continue to keep her in your thoughts as we pray for her recovery."

The NY Daily News offered a more dire report:

Sources told the Daily News that Rivers’ daughter, Melissa, is “in denial” over her mother’s condition.

“She still thinks everything is going to be OK. She is refusing to admit that a world might exist without her mother in it,” said a source close to the Rivers family.

“Others that are close to Joan are starting to realize that the outcome they want is very unlikely.”

Fellow entertainers have tweeted many messages of support.

Watch an interview (via Just Jared) of Rivers on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson from 1986, AFTER THE JUMP


  1. MIke says

    I think Joan Rivers would be smart enough to have a living will that directs what be done in a case where she’s in a permanent vegetative state to prevent some from “well, she’ll get better.” RIP Joan.

  2. says

    Altho many do not like her comedy style she has always been funny to me. Willing to say the things so many of us would never say. I hope she pulls through because we’re just not ready to lose another (comedy) legend. Best wishes to her. Come on girl, you can do it! As Cher would say, “Snap out of it!”

  3. AggieCowboy says

    Making the end of life decision to remove life support is perhaps the hardest decision a family can make. Until you have been in that position, you can’t know the agony of making it. I know what Melissa and her family are going through. I wish them peace of mind and heart and fervently hope that outsiders (especially the uber-religious “Christians”) keep their noses out of what is none of their business during this deeply painful and private time for the family.

  4. says

    I’ve never liked Carson, especially for the way he treated her when she was offered her own show. To me Carson was always a sour petty self-centered drunk. Yes, he could be funny but only because he could deliver a line well and had the funniest writers. He was never in the league of the really great comedians. Joan OTOH came up through the ranks and has earned her legendary status. I too hope she pulls through this.

  5. EchtKultig says

    Just a reminder that NO sedated endoscopy procedure is “routine” anymore when the patient is 81 years old no matter how many facelifts she’s had. If you have millions of dollars and need to have something like this done, check yourself into a hospital for cryin’ out loud.

  6. Kenneth says

    You can really see the resemblance between Joan and Melissa in this clip, which of course is before many a “procedure.” She is offensive to so many people and that is what makes her hilarious! She doesn’t worry about being politically correct and nothing is taboo, including herself and the life tragedies she’s endured. Under her crass comedy, you can tell she has a heart of gold. I believe Melissa will make the right decision, but as noted above it isn’t an easy one to make. She probably just wants to make sure she really gets to say goodbye.

  7. mark says

    Cary, you’re an idiot, Carson was a host and interviewer, did you ever see him at the comedy clubs doing standup?

    Joan went behind his back to get another show on another network.

  8. Terry says

    Let her go so the rest of us can rest comfortably and not have to keep hearing about one more person who’s famous for????? I still don’t know. Not a gay icon that’s for sure. And before you all get upset I’m not mocking the dead, (she is still alive, right?) just her dead career. she’s made a living saying a lot worse about far better people.

  9. JEFF YORK says

    Don’t bury her yet. It’s the brain activity that dictates this. I have been in this state and come out of it. If she becomes vegetative, I hope she has a strong Medical Directive and Living Will.

  10. Randy says

    Joan doesn’t strike me as the kind of person who would accept being a vegetable, if she had any choice.

    I hope she recovers, but it may be time to say goodbye.

  11. Arkansassy says

    Was a big fan of Joan in the 80’s and 90’s. Always loved her sense of humor and the way she poked fun at celebrities. Hope she pulls through!

  12. Mike says

    For ONCE I feel sorry for Melissa. Let this be an example to all of us no matter how healthy and alive that we presently are to have a signed medical directive in place. This is as important as safe sex. Would Joan Rivers want this? Of course not!

  13. Merv says

    @ECHTKULTIG – I couldn’t agree more. It’s crazy for someone with her money not to do this procedure in a hospital.

    @PETEY – TMZ is run by an openly gay man.

  14. BrokebackBob says

    My take is that the anesthesia used during her surgery was too much for her. This is not uncommon with very elderly people who are 80+. They probably did not have an anesthesiologist present since she was in a private doctor’s office. I also might guess that this was indeed a touch-up plastic surgery (just a guess) and Joan did not want to be conscious for the procedure and the doctor, not being a specialist, gave her too much. Also, too much anesthesia would be capable of suppressing her breathing reflex too much starving her brain of oxygen (which affects the lower centers first) which in turn stopped the feedback loop that keeps the heart beating.
    It is almost impossible to revive someone from this situation. Also, much brain damage occurs in a situation like this and atrophy of the heart muscle. I would imagine that Joan never really regained consciousness once she lost it. Keep in mind too that the presence of an anesthesiologist is to MONITOR the patient which the surgeon works. I would bet that no one in that office had the credentials to do this. This type of training is not part of registered nurse training but they can get it. So sad for Joan. I personally admire her and am immensely entertained by her. So sad for Melissa and the rest of the family. I hope that Joan can pull through, but I can’t imagine that she would be the same, we can only pray for a good outcome
    each in our way.

  15. I wont grow up says

    This woman is a legend, she and Phyllis Diller were among the first female stand up comics. She made us laugh very hard and was a brash opinionated, sometimes obnoxious broad. She wouldn’t want to be kept alive like this, she loved life too much. Let her go so she and those other comic geniuses who came before her can have a good laugh wherever they are. RIP Joan.

  16. bosxo111 says

    She is bascially gone already when they test and check to see if they can breath on there own and they cant she is not getting the signal to breath. I wish it wasnt true but she has passed already

  17. MaryM says

    Poor Joan – I hope she pulls through but it’s not sounding too good for her.

    And I never thought I’d say it but poor Melissa.

    I guess Fashion Police will be cancelled without Joan (unless someone like Kathy Griffin can take over).

    Glad that Joan was on the first episode of the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

    Carson treated her like crap.

    It’s a disgrace that since Joan there has not been a single female host of a late night network talkshow (Chelsea Handler was on cable).

  18. ratbastard says


    BINGO…overdosing on anesthesia among elderly is very common and rarely talked about. I’ve known older people who went under for ‘routine’ procedures, and they were never the same mentally afterwards. Many die outright. Surgery and going under for the elderly is never routine.

  19. anon says

    Cardiac arrest during surgery is one of those things they use on TV to make the drama more exciting. Normally, the heart fibrillates and if they can’t shock it back into sinus rhythm the patient will die. This can happen from several causes, but we don’t have the full story on the extent of the permanent damage, so predicting where this goes is difficult.

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