Jewish celebrity Joan Rivers dies at 81

Joan Rivers. Credit: David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons.

( Famed Jewish-American comedian, actress, and talk-show host Joan Rivers died Thursday at the age of 81. Rivers was undergoing throat surgery on Aug. 28 in New York City when she went into cardiac arrest. Since then she had been unconscious, sedated, and on life support.

"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 son and I would like to thank the doctors, nurses, and staff of Mount Sinai Hospital for the amazing care they provided for my mother," her daughter, Melissa Rivers, said in statement.

Before the surgery, Rivers still had a very active presence in American media and pop culture. She co-hosted the popular E! TV show "Fashion Police" and critiqued outfits worn by celebrities at award shows. 

Known for her sarcastic and sometimes controversial humor, Rivers most recently garnered attention for her epic on-camera defense of Israel's Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.

“Let me just tell you, if New Jersey were firing rockets into New York, we would wipe them out. If we heard they were digging tunnels from New Jersey to New York, we would get rid of Jersey. ... Don't put your God damn things in private homes, don't put your weapon stashes in private homes," she said in the TMZ video interview, blasting Hamas terrorists.

“Joan Rivers was not only an iconic comedian, she was an ardent supporter of Israel who vociferously and unabashedly expressed her opinions in support of the Jewish homeland, including during the recent Operation Protective Edge,” Shawn Evenhaim, chairman of the Israeli-American Council, said in a statement. “We’re sure all Israelis in the U.S. today share in the sadness of the passing of this exceptional woman.”

Posted on September 4, 2014 .