Rivers is critically ill after vocal chords operation
Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to a New York hospital yesterday after she stopped breathing during surgery on her vocal chords.
She is reported to be in a "critical condition" after being taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, according to an NYPD spokesman who was unable to confirm reports on the TMZ website that her heart had stopped beating at one point.
The US site has reported that Rivers was undergoing a throat procedure in a clinic when she became unwell.
An emergency call was made at 9.39am local time from an address in East 93rd Street, Yorkville, where there is an outpatient centre.
The Manhattan centre described its mission as to "serve as a community resource for digestive disorders".
Ken Baker, an entertainment journalist at E! News, claimed that Rivers was in a stable condition. The E! cable TV network features Rivers (81) as host of its show Fashion Police.
"Her family wants to thank everybody for their outpouring of love and support," said hospital spokesman Sid Dinsay in a statement.
The Brooklyn-born Rivers is one of America's best known comedians and is considered a pioneer for women in stand-up comedy.
Rivers' peers in the 1960s comedy club scene of New York's Greenwich Village included Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, Woody Allen and George Carlin, but she said she never felt like she was part of their clique.
In 1983, she earned one of the biggest gigs in the business when The Tonight Show host, the late Johnny Carson, crowned her as his regular guest host.