JOAN Rivers, the acerbic American stand-up comic and octogenarian TV presenter, is reportedly on life support in a New York hospital.
The 81-year-old stopped breathing while undergoing a medical procedure on her vocal cords at a clinic in New York on Thursday and was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital.
According to TMZ, her family will have to decide whether to keep her on the life-support machines.
"Her condition remains serious but she is receiving the best treatment and care possible," said daughter Melissa Rivers in a statement released by the hospital. "We ask that you continue to keep her in your thoughts as we pray for her recovery."
The New York Daily News reported that Rivers has been placed in a medically induced coma after going into cardiac and respiratory arrest during a routine doctor's visit.
Just days earlier, she had filmed a special 90-minute episode of Fashion Police and has a string of appearances scheduled in the coming weeks, followed by a tour of Britain next month.
A long-time New York resident, Rivers has spared no one her razor-sharp wit and is considered one of the best at delivering a cutting one-liner with a well-timed zinger.
She is considered a pioneer for women in stand-up comedy. The Brooklyn native, who graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Barnard College, played the 1960s comedy club scene with others who would also go on to become stars, including Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, Woody Allen and George Carlin.
In 1983, she earned one of the biggest gigs in the business when then-Tonight Show host Johnny Carson crowned her as his regular guest host. But her subsequent, short-lived stint hosting a competing late-night talk show on the then-nascent Fox network in 1986 led to a rift with Carson that lasted until his death in 2005.
She went on to host a daytime show, The Joan Rivers Show, and more recently has found a niche on the awards show circuit, turning her biting wit on the fashion faux pas of Hollywood celebrities.
In recent decades, she has been well-known for her love of multiple plastic surgeries, taken to excess with her exaggerated cheek bones and her preternaturally wrinkle-free face.
Born Joan Alexandra Molinsky, she worked in the fashion industry before starting out in stand-up comedy under the stage name Joan Rivers.