Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandDemocrats try to back Manchin off killing paid family leave proposal Crucial talks on Biden agenda enter homestretch Democrats cutting paid leave from spending deal amid Manchin opposition MORE (D-N.Y.) and former first lady Nancy Reagan are among those mourning the death of comedienne and fashionista Joan Rivers, with Reagan referring to the showbiz vet as “a dear friend” and one of the “funniest people I ever knew.”

Rivers died Thursday following complications from a vocal chord procedure. She was 81. Rivers’s career spanned nearly five decades — from her first appearance on the Johnny Carson-hosted “Tonight Show” in 1965, to her current popular E! channel celebrity style show, “Fashion Police.”


Reagan released a statement following Rivers’s death in a New York hospital, calling her “not only a dear friend, but one of the kindest and funniest people I ever knew.” Reagan said, “I doubt there’s anyone who hasn’t laughed at her or with her until they cried. Today our tears are those of sadness.”

Rivers credited the former president’s wife with helping her after the 1987 suicide of her second husband, Edgar Rosenberg. The comedy queen recalled the conversation with Reagan in a 2010 interview, “I said, ‘I can’t get Edgar’s body out of Philadelphia.’ She said, ‘Let me see what I can do.’ The next day, his body came back to L.A. You don’t ever forget that, especially when the chips are down.”


Gillibrand tweeted of the Brooklyn native:

Last week, Sarah Palin reposted on her Facebook page a blog entry by her daughter, Bristol, asking supporters to “pray” for Rivers. The 23-year-old reality television star, who appeared on the show “Wife Swap” with Rivers, wrote of the ailing funnywoman: “Please pray for her healing and for her family during this awful time.”