Medical examiner: Joan Rivers died of low blood oxygen

Joan Rivers, pictured in May 2014. Jeff Schear / Getty Images

NEW YORK  — The New York City medical examiner says Joan Rivers died from low blood oxygen during a medical procedure.

The comedian, who was 81, died Sept. 4. She had been hospitalized since Aug. 28 when she went into cardiac arrest during a routine medical procedure at a doctor’s office to check out voice changes and reflux.

Medical examiner spokeswoman Julie Bolcer said Thursday that the cause was brain damage due to lack of oxygen. It is classified as a therapeutic complication, meaning that the death resulted from a predictable complication of surgery.

The New York state health department is investigating the circumstances.

Rivers had been rushed to Mount Sinai Medical Center Aug. 29 after she stopped breathing during throat surgery at a clinic.

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A 911 call said a patient at Yorkville Endoscopy on East 93rd Street was “in either cardiac or respiratory arrest.”

After about a week in intensive care, Rivers was moved to a private room so she could be “kept comfortable.” She died the following day.

Her daughter Melissa Rivers says in a statement that the family continued to be saddened by the tragic loss.

– with files by Global News

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