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Former Joan Rivers Plastic Surgeon Remembers Her Zest For Life

NEWPORT BEACH (  —   Joan Rivers have a zest for life that was almost second to none.

On a video from two years ago that is now going viral, Joan is telling her daughter Melissa before a medical procedure that she lived an amazing life -- and she wasn't scared to die on the operating table.

The scene was from their reality show, "Joan Knows Best," but its poignancy is more touching since a medical procedure is likely what helped end the legend's life.

"It something happens," Rivers said, reassuring her daughter, "things are fine. And life is fine. And life is so much fun. It's one big movie."

In typical Rivers fashion, she make a joke during a most poignant moment.

She looked at a teary Melissa and said she had one small regret --  that Melissa's son, Rivers' only grandchild, was not gay.

"Who am I going to leave all my show tunes to?," Rivers quipped.

On Saturday night, the day before the world will say goodbye to Rivers who is being buried in New York, KCAL9's Bobby Kaple talked to a long time Rivers friend who was also one of her plastic surgeons.

Kaple talked to Dr. Norman Leaf, a Beverly Hills surgeon who also practices in Newport Beach, about the dangers of going under the knife.

"A death from elective surgery is every doctors worst fear," Leaf says.

The viral video was shot in Dr. Leaf's office -- moments before he was to perform a neck lift on Rivers.

"It was eerie because Melissa was very worried about her mother having an operation that she might die and Joan was reassuring her and it was prophetic," said Dr. Leaf.

Any time a person has elective surgery, the doctor says, there are risks involved.

IMAGES: Comedian Joan Rivers 1933-2014

"I said this is something that we need to talk about. Any surgery has risks but I reassured her that I had never lost a patients in 40 years of practicing and I didn't expect to lose one then -- but it could happen."

Rivers was reportedly undergoing a minor -- almost routine -- endoscopy when she suffered a cardiac arrest.

She was put in a medically-induced coma and put on life support. Days later,  Rivers died at the age of 81. (An autopsy has not yet determined the exact cause of death.)

The doctor, who first met Rivers in 1978, is like millions of her fans --  mourning her loss.

"With Joan passing, it was such a momentous loss for everybody. I feel a very personal loss. She was not ready to go," says Dr. Leaf.

The New York State Health Department is investigating Yorkville Endoscopy -- the facility where Rivers was having the out-patient procedure done.


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