Medical examiner reveals Joan Rivers cause of death

SHARE Medical examiner reveals Joan Rivers cause of death

NEW YORK — Joan Rivers died from low blood oxygen during a routine medical procedure to check out voice changes and reflux, the medical examiner’s office ruled Thursday.

The comedian, who was 81, died Sept. 4 after she’d been hospitalized for about a week when she went into cardiac arrest during the procedure at a doctor’s office.

Rivers died from “anoxic encephalopathy due to hypoxic arrest” — brain damage due to lack of oxygen — during a procedure to scope her upper gastrointestinal tract and vocal folds, a spokeswoman for the city’s medical examiner said.

The death was classified as a complication of a medical procedure. The classification is not commonly used; more deaths are certified as homicides, suicides or natural causes.

Rivers had been sedated during the procedure with propofol, the medical examiner said.

The state Health Department also is investigating.

Rivers’ daughter and TV partner, Melissa Rivers, said they had no comment on the ruling.

“We continue to be saddened by our tragic loss and grateful for the enormous outpouring of love and support from around the world,” she said in a statement.

Rivers was a raucous, acid-tongued comedian who crashed the male-dominated realm of late-night talk shows. With her raspy voice and brash New York accent, she turned the red carpet of the Oscars, Emmys and Golden Globes into a stalking ground for E! Entertainment, where she first began working in 1994. Her familiar query — “Who are you wearing?” — would quickly give way to such snarky commentary as her assessment of Adele’s Grammy outfit: The singer looked like she was sitting on a teapot.

In 2007, Rivers and her daughter were dropped by their new employer, the TV Guide Channel, and replaced by actress Lisa Rinna. But the Rivers’ women returned to E! and found new success with “Fashion Police,” which Rivers hosted and her daughter produced. — AP

Related

• Joan Rivers spent early comedy years in Chicago

• Celebrities remember Joan Rivers

• Bill Zwecker: Remembering my friend Joan Rivers

• ‘Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work’ Roger Ebert’s 2010 review

The Latest
About 60% of people are interested in exploring green funeral options, more than ever before.
Plainfield South senior Tim Raducka caught three muskies during the conference bass-fishing tournament.
Right now, even when a survivor can prove to a judge they are in danger, the law leaves it up to their abuser to decide to turn in guns. This is ludicrous. Karina’s Bill would remedy that with common sense: Give police more power to remove those firearms.
Officer Luis Huesca, 30, was going home from work about 3 a.m. in the 3100 block of West 56th Street when a ShotSpotter alert went off, police Supt. Larry Snelling said. No one has been arrested.
How do you treat someone who is in pain but also making untrue and insulting allegations?