Last Updated Sep 5, 2014 11:12 AM EDT
Joan Rivers is being remembered as a "trailblazer," a "pioneer" and "one of a kind."
Tributes are pouring in for the legendary comedian and TV personality, who died Thursday at age 81.
"My mother's greatest joy in life was to make people laugh," her daughter, Melissa Rivers, said. "Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon."
Rivers' TV home -- E! and NBCUniversal -- released a statement: "For decades Joan has made people laugh, shattered glass ceilings and revolutionized comedy. She was unapologetic and fiercely dedicated to entertaining all of us and has left an indelible mark on the people that worked with her and on her legions of fans. She's been a much beloved member of the E! family for over 20 years and the world is less funny without her in it. Today our hearts are heavy knowing Joan will not be bounding through the doors."
CBS late-night host David Letterman said, "Here's a woman, a real pioneer for other women looking for careers in stand-up comedy. And talk about guts -- she would come out here and sit in this chair and say some things that were unbelievable, just where you would have to swallow pretty hard...but it was hilarious...the force of her comedy was overpowering."
Comedian Louis C.K. said in a statement, "I feel very lucky that I knew Joan Rivers and I feel very sad that she's gone. She was a great comedian and a wonderful person. I never saw someone attack a stage with so much energy. She was a controlled lightning bolt. She was a prolific and unpredictable, joyful joke writer. She loved comedy. She loved the audience. She was a great actress and should have done that more. She loved living and working. She was kind. She was real. She was brave. She was funny and you just wanted to be around her. I looked up to her. I learned from her. I loved her. I liked her. And I already miss her very much."
As the outpouring of tweets suggest, Rivers touched the hearts of many, serving as a mentor and an inspiration.
See how she's being remembered:
My friend Joan Rivers has passed away once again to quote Billy Crystal... There are no words. Bon Voyage Joan 😢— Whoopi Goldberg (@WhoopiGoldberg) September 4, 2014
I just heard the unfortunate news about "Joan Rivers" ....I'm beyond sad about it. My prayers go out to her family and friends.— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) September 4, 2014
RIP the mighty Joan Rivers. Funny & fearless. Truly one of a kind.— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) September 4, 2014
Watching Joan Rivers do standup at age 81 was incredible: athletic, jaw-dropping, terrifying, essential. It never stopped. Neither will she.— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) September 4, 2014
Goodbye my friend Joan Rivers. You were a huge part of my professional life and you brightened up the horizon with your Chutzpah! Sad!— Boy George (@BoyGeorge) September 4, 2014
RIP Joan Rivers. Being publicly told that my dress is hideous will never feel quite as awesome. You will be truly missed.— Anna Kendrick (@AnnaKendrick47) September 4, 2014
So sorry to hear the news about Joan Rivers. She was one of a kind. My heart goes out to Melissa and Cooper.— Katie Couric (@katiecouric) September 4, 2014
RIP GODDESS: Hail Hail, a GENIUS has vacated this realm: Joan Rivers has died.— Roseanne Barr (@therealroseanne) September 4, 2014
I loved Joan Rivers. A trailblazing funny lady. Have fun up there. #RIPJoan— Elizabeth Banks (@ElizabethBanks) September 4, 2014
Joan Rivers RIP- I loved spending this time with you recently. One of my all time favorite interviews.… http://t.co/OF4Ud4l037— Candace Cameron Bure (@candacecbure) September 4, 2014
“We don’t apologize for a joke. We are comics. We are here to make you laugh. If you don’t get it, then don’t watch us.” Joan Rivers. RIP.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) September 4, 2014
Joan Rivers has died. What a sad ending to a brilliant and tragi-comic life; one of the bravest, and funniest of all.— Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) September 4, 2014
Love Her or Hate Her, we're gonna Miss JOAN RIVERS! I always Respected her go for broke humor. One of a kind.R.I.P.— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) September 4, 2014
Joan Rivers will always be a pioneer. She paved the way for a lot of comedians. I’m very sad she’s gone. pic.twitter.com/i1uE9fyHMh— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) September 4, 2014
Joan Rivers. Sigh. Comedy legend. Comedy trailblazer. Miss her already.— Denis Leary (@denisleary) September 4, 2014
Joan Rivers was a mentor and a friend. Can't believe we won't be seeing her again. What a life.— Robin Quivers (@rqui) September 4, 2014
Joan Rivers was one of our Greats.She gave her all and will be missed. I am very sad and my Heart goes out to her Family.— Andrew Dice Clay (@TheRealDiceClay) September 4, 2014
I'll miss my good friend & fellow Barnard grad Joan Rivers-Greatly admired her comedic genius. Pls remember her w/ me http://t.co/VILWl7ZGUE— Martha Stewart (@MarthaStewart) September 4, 2014
I am saddened to learn of the passing of @Joan_Rivers. A comedic legend. Thoughts going out to Melissa and her family.— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) September 4, 2014
It was Joan Rivers that put me on the TONIGHT SHOW first! And it was HER Apprentice victory, that motivated me to give it one hundred! #icon— Arsenio Hall (@ArsenioHall) September 4, 2014