LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Comedian Joan Rivers was in serious condition on Friday at a New York hospital a day after she was admitted suffering cardiac arrest when her breathing stopped during a vocal cord procedure, her family and hospital officials said.
“Her condition remains serious, but she is receiving the best treatment and care possible,” her daughter, Melissa, said in a statement released by Mt. Sinai Hospital where Rivers was rushed on Thursday.
“My mother would be so touched by the tributes and prayers that we have received from around the world,” Rivers said.
Rivers, 81, had gone to a New York clinic for a vocal cord procedure on Thursday. Without identifying the brash comedian specifically, the Fire Department of New York said a patient reported to be in cardiac arrest was taken to Mount Sinai from Yorkville Endoscopy by emergency workers at mid-morning.
Rivers is considered a pioneer for women in stand-up comedy. The Brooklyn native, who graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Barnard College, played the 1960s comedy club scene with others who also would go on to become stars, including Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, Woody Allen and George Carlin.
In 1983, she earned one of the biggest gigs in the business when then-Tonight Show host Johnny Carson crowned her as his regular guest host.
But her subsequent, short-lived stint hosting a competing late night talk show on the then-nascent Fox network in 1986 led to a rift with Carson that lasted until his death in 2005.
She went on to host a daytime show, The Joan Rivers Show, and more recently has found a niche on the awards show circuit, turning her biting wit on the fashion faux pas of Hollywood celebrities.
Known too for her penchant for plastic surgery and with a reputation for being a ceaseless worker, Rivers also has starred alongside her daughter in the WE TV reality show Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?