Joan Rivers, Melissa Rivers

Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Melissa Rivers has settled the wrongful death lawsuit against the New York endoscopy clinic that treated Joan Rivers before her death, and in the process of concluding it, she faced some emotional revelations—including her mother's last words.

The Today Show aired a segment about Melissa's settlement after which co-host Matt Lauer revealed a conversation he had with her the night before.

"The discovery process for this was extremely emotional," Lauer said. "As part of the process she actually got to learn what her mom's last words were. She says those will remain personal but she's satisfied that the doctors at the clinic have accepted responsibility for what happened to her mother."

More than anything, though, Melissa is relieved that the lawsuit is over and responsibility has been claimed.

In a statement obtained by E! News on Thursday, Melissa said, "In accepting this settlement, I am able to put the legal aspects of my mother's death behind me and ensure that those culpable for her death have accepted responsibility for their actions quickly and without equivocation."

She added, "Moving forward, my focus will be to ensure that no one ever has to go through what my mother, Cooper and I went through and I will work towards ensuring higher safety standards in out-patient surgical clinics. I want to express my personal gratitude to my legal team for their wise counsel and prompt resolution of this case."

Melissa Rivers, Joan Rivers, Oscars


Joan died in September 2014 at 81-years-old after undergoing a throat procedure at the clinic. The medical examiner later determined that she had stopped breathing during the procedure and suffered fatal brain damage resulting from a lack of oxygen.

In January 2015, Melissa filed a lawsuit against the clinic with the belief that medical malpractice had been a major factor in Joan's death.

"Filing this lawsuit was one of the most difficult decisions I've ever had to make," Melissa said in a statement released shortly after the news of the lawsuit went public. "What ultimately guided me was my unwavering belief that no family should ever have to go through what my mother, Cooper and I have been through. The level of medical mismanagement, incompetency, disrespect, and outrageous behavior is shocking and frankly, almost incomprehensible."

  • Share
  • Tweet

We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. By using the site, you consent to these cookies. For more information on cookies including how to manage your consent visit our Cookie Policy.