Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to a New York hospital on Thursday (local time) after she stopped breathing during surgery on her vocal chords, local media reported.
New York City Fire Department spokesman Jim Long said a patient reported to be in cardiac arrest had been taken from Yorkville Endoscopy to Mount Sinai Hospital by emergency workers responding to the call at 9.40am local time (1.40am Friday NZ time).
He declined to name the patient due to privacy concerns, but the NBC television affiliate in New York identified the patient as Rivers, saying she stopped breathing during a procedure on her vocal chords.
Ken Baker, an entertainment journalist at E! News, said on his Twitter account that Rivers was in stable condition at Mount Sinai Hospital. The E! cable TV network features Rivers as host of its show “Fashion Police.”
A representative for E! could not immediately be reached for comment.
Representatives for Rivers, 81, did not immediately return calls or emails, and a representative for her daughter, Melissa Rivers, declined to comment. A Mount Sinai official also declined comment, citing patient privacy rules.
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.
Her brash and self-deprecating routine found new life on the awards show circuit and in recent years she trained her acerbic wit and profanity-laced comment on the fashion faux pas of Hollywood’s celebrities.
In an age of political correctness, Rivers’ no-holds-barred style has stood out in the crowded world of celebrity TV, as did her ability to make fun of herself, including her penchant for plastic surgery.
Aside from her role on “Fashion Police,” she also has in recent years starred alongside her daughter in the WE TV reality show “Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best”