Joan and Melissa Rivers

Popular comedian Joan Rivers, 81, was pronounced dead at a New York hospital thursday.

In a statement, Rivers' daughter Melissa said, “It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers. She passed peacefully at 1:17 p.m. surrounded by family and close friends.

“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 too.”

According to reports, Melissa Rivers apparently decided to take her mother off life support at The Mount Sinai Hospital eight days after she arrived at the facility.

Joan Rivers was taken by ambulance to the hospital after going into respiratory and cardiac arrest during a procedure at a different facility.

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