Rivers died of complication during medical procedure

New York chief medical examiner’s office issues findings

Comedian Joan Rivers, who passed away last month at 81, died of a complication during a medical procedure that caused oxygen deprivation to the brain, the New York chief medical examiner's office said yesterday.

“The cause of Ms Rivers’ death is anoxic encephalopathy due to hypoxic arrest during laryngoscopy and upper gastrointestinal endoscopy,” it said in a statement, referring to brain damage due to lack oxygen.

“The manner of death is therapeutic complication, the death resulted from a predictable complication of medical therapy.”

Rivers, the brash, pioneering comedian who paved the way for women in stand-up comedy, died on September 4th in a New York hospital a week after she stopped breathing during an outpatient medical procedure on her vocal cords.


Doctors were performing a laryngoscopy, an examination of the back of the throat and vocal cords, on her after she had complained of problems with her voice.

Following her death, the state health department launched an investigation into the Yorkville Endoscopy Center where Rivers was treated.

The clinic, which opened last year, denied media reports that it had administered a general anaesthesia or conducted a vocal cord biopsy on Rivers.