Legendary comedian and talk show host Joan Rivers has left the world with a little less laughter today -- the feisty television mainstay known for her hilarious candor and dizzyingly quick wit has died at the age of 81, following complications during a surgical procedure.

Rivers, a celebrated longtime standup and the host of E! network's 'Fashion Police,' was in serious condition after going into cardiac arrest following a procedure on her vocal cords earlier this week. Her daughter and frequent TV partner Melissa released the following 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.

Cooper and I have found ourselves humbled by the outpouring of love, support, and prayers we have received from around the world. They have been heard and appreciated.

My mother's greatest joy 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.

Rivers rose to prominence as a comedian with her fiery and brash sets, often using the phrase, "Can we talk?" Nothing was ever off-limits for the comedian, who went on to occasionally host 'The Tonight Show.' She was utterly fearless and unapologetic -- invaluable traits in a male-dominated industry, and although her comedy sometimes offended, she used that brassy humor to her advantage, particularly as a fashion commentator at red carpet events and hosting 'Fashion Police.'

In recent years, Rivers was the subject of the 2010 documentary 'A Piece of Work,' and guest-starred on Louis C.K.'s hit FX series 'Louie.'

In a year when we've also lost the wonderful Elaine Stritch, Rivers' death feels especially tough. Two unapologetic, classy, hilarious and totally legendary comedians who serve as true inspirations and role models to not just all women -- but all people. Joan Rivers was indeed a real incomparable piece of work, and a voice that will be missed.

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