Legendary comedian and TV host Joan Rivers has died at age 81, her daughter Melissa said.

“It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers,” Melissa said in a statement to news outlets. “She passed peacefully at 1:17 pm surrounded by family and close friends.”

Rivers went into cardiac arrest at a New York clinic last week while

, and she briefly stopped breathing. She was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital and put into a medically induced coma. Melissa released a statement this week that her

; later, she said her mother was taken to a private room and was “resting comfortably.” Since the news last week that Rivers was in the hospital, there was a massive outpouring of support from her famous friends, many of whom started paying tribute on Twitter.

In the last decade, Rivers hadn’t slowed down at all. In addition to hosting E!’s “Fashion Police” every Friday, she also starred with her daughter on WE tv reality show, “Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?” for four seasons. She wrote multiple books including “

I Hate Everyone…Starting with Me

” in 2012 and “Diary of a Mad Diva,” published this year.

Rivers was also aired her own Web series, “In Bed With Joan,” where would literally interview celebrities in a bed. She was scheduled to perform several weeks worth of comedy shows in Europe this fall.

E! and parent company NBCUniversal released a statement:

“E! and NBCUniversal send our deepest condolences to Melissa, Cooper and her entire extended family on this incredibly sad day. For decades Joan has made people laugh, shattered glass ceilings and revolutionized comedy. She was unapologetic and fiercely dedicated to entertaining all of us and has left an indelible mark on the people that worked with her and on her legions of fans.  She’s been a much beloved member of the E! family for over 20 years and the world is less funny without her in it. Today our hearts are heavy knowing Joan will not be bounding through the doors.”

ABC’s Barbara Walters also paid tribute:

“No one loved life, laughter, and a good time more than Joan. We would have dinner and laugh and gossip and I always left the table smiling.  She was a brassy, often outrageous, and hilarious performer who made millions laugh.  In private, she was the picture of elegance and class.  I will miss her.”

David Letterman:

“Here’s a woman, a real pioneer for other women looking for careers in stand-up comedy,” said Letterman. “And talk about guts – she would come out here and sit in this chair and say some things that were unbelievable, just where you would have to swallow pretty hard… but it was hilarious… the force of her comedy was overpowering.”

On Thursday afternoon, the AP reported that the New York Health Department was “investigating the circumstances” of the throat surgery procedure at the clinic last week.


More to come…