Kathy Griffin's mother and dying sister received ''vitriolic hate'' after her Donald Trump photograph controversy.

In 2017, the 58-year-old comedian took part in a shoot with photographer Tyler Shields in which she posed with a bloody decapitated head resembling US President Trump and Kathy has revealed that her mother Maggie, then 97, and her sister - who was in hospice care dying of cancer - were both targeted.

She told PEOPLE: ''My mom had an old-timey answering machine -- not even voice mail -- and people would leave the most vitriolic hate.

''Joyce received notes telling her to go to hell'' until the day she died later that year.

''I felt guilty, like I brought this on. I didn't mean to, but I still brought this inadvertently into their lives at such a difficult time, especially my sister.''

Kathy - whose mother now has dementia - lost endorsements deals, her tour was axed and she was dropped from her role as co-host of CNN's New Year's Eve coverage with Anderson Cooper due to the controversy.

The star was also put on the no-fly list until an FBI investigation into her was completed but Kathy says the only thing that made her feel better was getting back to stand-up.

Speaking about her new concert documentary, 'Kathy Griffin: A Hell of a Story', she said: '' Nothing makes me feel better, and hopefully it makes other people feel better. I just had this gut feeling: It's back to business. It's back to stand-up, no matter what.''