NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Funeral services have been set for comic legend Joan Rivers as the New York City Medical Examiner said Friday that further tests are needed to pinpoint the cause of her death.
Rivers died Thursday at the age of 81 a week after suffering complications during a routine throat procedure at a doctor’s office. Medical examiner spokeswoman Julie Bolcer said that the “cause and manner of death” will require further studies.
Her funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday at Temple Emanu-El, at 1 E. 65th St. Services will be private and no other details were released.
Friday morning, Melissa Rivers left her mother’s Upper East Side apartment where a makeshift memorial of flowers and messages continued to grow well into the night.
Rivers fan Bob Nesmer was one of many leaving flowers, and said he came from the same neighborhood where Rivers was born.
“I like her ‘don’t give a damn’ attitude,” Nesmer said. “I also like she says everything we’re thinking, but of course we don’t have the outlet to say everything we want to say.”
When asked about the public response to her mother’s death, she said it was, “unbelievable,” 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.
Her personal assistant, Graham Reed, delivered pizza and water to the media camped outside, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.
“She would have done this for you guys. She would have wanted you guys to have this, you’re out here all day long,” he said.
Martin Fletcher, a family friend, commented on how Melissa Rivers is handling it all.
“She is doing amazingly well, she’s her mother’s daughter, she’s rising to the occasion,” Fletcher said.
From New York to California, tributes are pouring in.
“She’s really down to earth,” fashion designer Martha Fadel, who once made a jacket for Rivers, told CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu. “Kind, kind woman.”
“All of us is what made her Joan Rivers,” one fan told CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell. “She wasn’t Joan Rivers on an island, it was like Joan Rivers was all of us.”
“She would just put it out there and you would just laugh along with her. You felt like you were sitting on the couch with her saying, ‘you know what, I’m thinking the same thing you are Joan,'” another fan told WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane.”She was the voice of every woman and everyone who had that quirky little thought they might not share, she shared it with everyone.”
Rivers was a trailblazer for all comics, but especially for women. David Letterman called her “a real pioneer for other women looking for careers in stand-up comedy” in his monologue Thursday.
“And talk about guts,” he said. “She would come out here and sit in this chair and say some things that were unbelievable. The force of her comedy was overpowering.”
Ellen DeGeneres, Kathy Griffin, Louis CK, Marlon Wayans and Wanda Sykes are among those who consider Rivers a hero.
“Thank you Joan for paving the way for broads like me,” Sykes wrote on Twitter.
“Every woman in comedy is indebted to her,” Amy Poehler said in a statement
No topic was too taboo for Rivers. She broke gender barriers because she was funny, fearless and persistent and didn’t try to be like the guys.
She revolutionized red-carpet reporting, mixing her love of fashion with her love of snark and carving out a niche that was hers alone.
Rivers loved performing, calling it “my drug of choice,” and never stopped working. Her schedule for the next few months was jam-packed across the country and overseas in the U.K.
Rivers’ death is being felt acutely at a charity that delivers meals to those who are sick and homebound, WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported.
“She worked in our kitchen, she went on deliveries, she was our best ambassador,” Karen Pearl said, head of God’s Love We Deliver. “People felt immediately a strong personal connection to Joan, because she connected with people.”
Pearl told CBS 2’s Matt Kozar that Rivers always had a hands-on approach at the charity.
“She’d be in there packing up the food, or making the bags, or packing the truck,” Pearl said. “She didn’t care.”
Rivers had been involved with God’s Love We Deliver for 25 years.
“We started in the height of the AIDS pandemic, and Joan — unfortunately, like so many others — was losing friends who were dying of AIDS,” Pearl said.
Pearl said their newly-renovated bakery will be named for Rivers.
“I’m heartbroken. I mean, Joan — a pretty special woman,” Pearl said. “And personally, it’s hard, and for our organization, it’s really, really hard.”
A video captured her final show at the West Bank Cafe on West 42nd Street the night before she was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital.
West Bank Cafe owner Steve Olsen said Rivers used the small venue as her laboratory to test out new jokes. She appeared there some 200 times over the last five years.
“We’re heartbroken,” said Olsen. “It’s so sad. She left here Wednesday night after the show and she had a great performance.”
Melissa Rivers announced her mother’s death Thursday, which came a week after she suffered complications during a routine throat procedure at Yorkville Endoscopy.
The clinic is now under investigation by the state Health Department.
“HIPAA laws prevent us from disclosing any information about patients. In the event of an adverse incident, Yorkville Endoscopy would promptly report to appropriate government and regulatory agencies and would proactively cooperate with any governmental review,” a spokesperson for the clinic said in a statement.
Melissa was by her mother’s side along with Rivers’ grandson and her dogs when she died.
“She was an amazing mother,” Donald Trump said. “She really loved Melissa more than anybody, anything. There was nobody else.”
Rivers was never one to shy away from topics most would find uncomfortable, including her own mortality. She talked about it with her daughter in their reality show “Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?”
“If something happens, you’re fine,” Rivers told her. “And life is fine. Life is so much fun — it’s like a big movie.”
In her 2012 book, “I Hate Everyone… Starting With Me,” Rivers talked about her own funeral, saying she wanted it to be “Hollywood all the way.”
“I want to look gorgeous, better dead than I do alive. I want to be buried in a Valentino gown, I want Harry Winston to make me a toe tag. I want a wind machine so strong that even in the casket, my hair will be blowing more than Beyonce’s on stage.”
Check Out These Other Stories From CBSNewYork.com:
- FDNY Fire Trucks Involved In 2 Separate Accidents In Astoria, Queens
- Man Stabbed To Death In Paterson, N.J. Apartment
- Police: 17 Dogs, Puppies Found In Squalid Keyport, N.J. Home
- Huge Crowds, Increased Security And Tributes To Orlando Victims At NYC Pride Parade
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)