Joan Rivers is ‘resting comfortably’ in a medically induced coma just hours after she performed a typically acerbic show in Manhattan and joked about her own death.
The 81-year-old comic was rushed from an Upper East Side clinic to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition on Thursday morning after she stopped breathing during a routine medical procedure.
A picture of health only the day before, Rivers accepted a bouquet of flowers from a fan as she finished her stand-up performance at around 9.30pm on Wednesday.
The entertainment legend even posed for pictures with a fan on the way out of the Laurie Beechman Theatre, only to suffer respiratory failure less than twelve hours later during surgery on her throat.
Her daughter, Melissa Rivers, dashed from LA to New York and arrived at the hospital at around 8pm and was ushered to the 11th floor luxury room in which her mother is now said by doctors to be in a stable condition.
She released a statement thanking everyone for their messages of support and gave a brief update on her mother’s condition.
‘I want to thank everyone for the overwhelming love and support for my mother,’ Melissa Rivers said in a statement.
‘She is resting comfortably and is with our family. We ask that you continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers.’
While doctors are said to be keen to keep her in a coma until the weekend, there is concern about the length of time her brain was starved of oxygen.
But less than 12 hours before she stopped breathing, Rivers was her usual irrepressible self, making jokes about her own longevity and mortality to an audience of around 100.
‘She did a joke onstage, she goes, ‘I’m 81 — I could go at any moment,’ said Shade Rupe, 45.
‘I could fall over right here and you all could say, ‘I was there!’
Rupe, who spoke to the New York Daily News, said that Rivers’ comedy was as quick-witted as it has always been.
‘She was so on,’ he said. ‘If you had me guess her age, I’d say she was in her 50s. She didn’t miss a step, she didn’t go ditzy, she didn’t forget anything and her timing was amazing.’
Rupe grabbed a picture with the star outside the theater and said that Rivers ‘looked fantastic.’
And, as testament to the television hosts vigor, Rivers was even promoting her book, ‘Diary of a Mad Diva’ before she took to the stage on Wednesday.
Rivers, who has been a fixture on American television since the mid-1960s, was her forthright self according to those who were at the press meet.
When she walked in to take her seat, said Shira Blum, an online project manager. ‘She seemed totally healthy,’ Blum said. ‘She was very energetic, hilarious, funny. And it was such a shock, a surprise to hear the news this morning.’