LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Legendary comic Joan Rivers died of brain damage due to a lack of oxygen as a “predictable” complication of surgery, medical officials announced Thursday.

The 81-year-old host of E!’s “Fashion Police” stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest on the morning of Aug. 28 at an Upper East Side clinic in New York where she was having a procedure done on her vocal cords.

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She was placed in a medically induced coma before dying on Sept. 4.

According to the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner, Rivers was under propofol sedation during her surgery.

“The cause of Ms. Rivers’ death is anoxic encephalopathy due to hypoxic arrest during laryngoscopy and upper gastrointestinal endoscopy with propofol sedation for evaluation of voice changes and gastroesophageal reflux disease,” officials said in a statement. “The classification of a death as a therapeutic complication means that the death resulted from a predictable complication of medical therapy.”


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Rivers’ career was launched in 1968 after she appeared on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson. She went on to host a variety of other shows on television, including “The Joan Rivers Show”, which she won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host in 1990.

From 2011-2014, she starred in a reality show on WE tv with her daughter Melissa titled “Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?”. Rivers, who also wrote 12 best-selling books, was the co-host of E!’s “Fashion Police” since its inception in 2010.


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