Joan Rivers has died aged 81.

The 'Fashion Police' host passed away ''peacefully'' this afternoon (04.09.14) at Mount Sinai hospital in New York surrounded by her friends and family.

Joan's daughter Melissa, 46, said in a statement: ''It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers. She passed peacefully at 1:17pm 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.''

She added: ''My mother's greatest joy in life was to make people laugh.

''Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon.''

The comedienne was rushed to hospital last Thursday after she suffered a cardiac arrest and stopped breathing while undergoing a routine operation on her vocal cords at the private Yorkville Endoscopy clinic.

Producer Melissa caught a flight to New York with her son Cooper, 13, as soon as she was informed of her mother's health scare.

Joan was put on life support after being placed in a medically-induced coma, but appeared to be showing signs of progress yesterday (03.09.14) when she was transferred to a private room at the hospital.

Melissa - Joan's only child - said yesterday: ''My mother has been moved out of intensive care and into a private room where she is being kept comfortable. Thank you for your continued support.''