Joan Rivers, the actress and comedian, has been placed on life support days after suffering from a cardiac arrest during throat surgery, according to reports.

Rivers was rushed to hospital in New York on Thursday after she stopped breathing while undergoing an endoscopy at a Manhattan clinic.

According to TMZ, she is now reliant on life support machines and the family will be given the decision by doctors of whether or not to turn the machines off.

The family hope that the 81-year-old star, who was put into a medically induced coma on Friday, will then bounce back and recover to full health.

Her daughter Melissa, 46, and grandson Cooper, 13 are at the hospital by her side.

Rivers is the current co-host of “Fashion Police” on the E! television channel and also helps hosts CNN’s New Year coverage from Times Square.

The tart-tongued comedian has often been criticised for her making insensitive jokes. Last year, she was criticised by some Jewish groups for making jokes about Holocaust. “This is the way I remind people about the Holocaust,” Rivers, who is Jewish, replied. “I do it through humour.”

And during this month’s Gaza conflict, she caused fresh controversy when she told a website that that Palestinian civilians “deserve to be dead”, but she later insisted her words had been taken out of context.

Earlier this week Rivers gave a talk at the Time-Life bulding in New York when she told her audience she had no physical ailments.

Describing herself as “lucky” she said she did not follow a special diet, joking that her consumption of sugar and processed food was probably what preserved her body.