Melissa's heartbreaking final act of saying goodbye

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BY CAITLIN BECK, REPORTING BY ERIC RAY & RUSS WEAKLAND

Hollywood lost another great. Joan Rivers, 81, passed away on Sept. 4, one week after she stopped breathing while having surgery on her throat.

The beloved comedienne was rushed to Mount Sinai hospital in New York City following her surgery, where she was then put on life support. HollywoodLife.com has learned exclusively how Joan's daughter, Melissa Rivers, 46, and her loved ones said goodbye.

Melissa Rivers Joan Rivers Death - The Touching Way She Said Goodbye

In a heartbreaking statement, Melissa announced that Joan did not pull through. "It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers," Melissa said. "She passed peacefully at 1:17pm surrounded by family and close friends."

A source revealed to HollywoodLife.com exclusively how friends and family said their final goodbyes to the legend.

"Taking Joan out of Intensive Care was the first step to prepare for Joan's death.," a source revealed.

"Melissa wanted to keep her alive until everyone that was close to her had a chance to say goodbye. The writing was on the wall and she wanted people to honor her that knew her one last time before they gave up and then let the world mourn with them."

A friend close to Joan revealed Melissa's heartbreak.

"This was the single most hardest thing Melissa had to do in her entire life, and it killed her. She loved her mother like no other," a source said."But, they've talked about this kind of situation both publicly and privately. Joan didn't want to suffer, and Mel knew that. Mel will never be the same."

The funny lady with a career that spanned multiple decades will be missed by many. Fans and celebrities including Kathy Griffin, Joel McHale, Andy Cohen, and Whoopi Goldberg, took to Twitter to share their favorite memories of Joan, and to say just how much they will miss her.

Melissa's heartbreaking statement:

"My son and I would like to thank the doctors, nurses, and staff of Mount Sinai Hospital for the amazing care they provided for my mother. Cooper and I have found ourselves humbled by the outpouring of love, support, and prayers we have received from around the world. They have been heard and appreciated. My mother's greatest joy in life was to make people laugh. Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon."

Joan was the definition of a trailblazer. Our thoughts go out to Melissa, and Joan's loved ones during this difficult time.

More Joan Rivers News:
Joan Rivers Dies At 81: Fans Grieve On Twitter
Melissa Rivers Announces Joan Rivers' 'Peaceful' Death – Statement
Joan Rivers Dead: Beloved Comic & Television Host Dies At 81