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Updated: Thu, 28 Aug 2014 16:33:00 GMT | By The Associated Press, cbc.ca

Joan Rivers in hospital after cardiac arrest

Melissa Rivers, seen here with her mother Joan earlier this year, is reportedly on her way to New York. Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Melissa Rivers, seen here with her mother Joan earlier this year, is reportedly on her way to New York. Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Joan Rivers is in a New York City hospital Thursday after she was rushed from a doctor's office when she went into cardiac arrest, police and hospital officials said.

The 81-year-old comedian's condition wasn't immediately known, but reports from the E! network where Rivers works indicate she was upgraded from critical to stable condition.

- CBC The Passionate Eye| Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work  

"This morning, Joan Rivers was taken to The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, where she is being attended to. Her family wants to thank everybody for their outpouring of love and support," said Sid Dinsay, a spokesman for Mount Sinai Hospital. "We will provide an update on her condition as it becomes available."

New York City police officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to publicly name Rivers, said she was taken to the hospital just after 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

Rivers' representatives didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

A red carpet regular 

The entertainer has logged a half-century in show business. She hosts Fashion Police on E! network and co-stars with her daughter, Melissa, on the WEtv reality show, Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best? She also presides over an online talk show, In Bed With Joan.

Her latest book, Diary of a Mad Diva, was released this summer.

In 2009, Rivers emerged as the winner of NBC's The Celebrity Apprentice. A documentary, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, premiered in theaters in 2010.

Rivers coined the phrase "Can we talk?" in her standup routines and, interviewing fashionistas on the red carpet, introduced the question, "Who are you wearing?"

Brash style broke boundaries

A native of New York, Rivers originally entered show business with the dream of a theatrical career, but comedy became a way to pay the bills while she auditioned for acting roles.

"Somebody said, 'You can make six dollars standing up in a club,"' she told The Associated Press in 2013, "and I said, 'Here I go!' It was better than typing all day."

After proving herself in comedy clubs as a rarity — a woman comedian — Rivers was a smash on her first booking on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1965. "God, you're funny," Carson told her.

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