Elizabeth Taylor died this morning at Cedars-Sinai Hospital at the age of 79. Of the death, her publicist, Sally Morrison, said “She was surrounded by her children – Michael Wilding, Chistopher Wilding, Liza Todd, and Maria Burton.” Also present were her 10 grandchildren.
Six weeks ago, Taylor was hospitalized for congestive heart failure. Her condition had stabilized and was allowed to go home even though she suffered from several complications. In October of 2009, she had a heart procedure, and said on Twitter that it was “very new and involves repairing my leaky valve using a clip device, without open heart surgery so that my heart will function better.” Also in her lifetime, she battled pneumonia, skin cancer, a tracheotomy, and addictions to alcohol and painkillers. Biographers estimate she has had anywhere between 30 and 40 surgeries.
Taylor won two Best Actress Academy Awards: one in 1961 for her role in BUtterfield 8 and the other in 1967 for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. She was nominated three other times, in 1958 for Raintree Country, in 1959 for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and in 1960 for Suddenly, Last Summer. Taylor was also famous for her role in National Velvet in 1944 (when she was 12), 1951’s A Place in the Sun, and 1963’s Cleopatra.
Taylor was also in the news for being married 8 times to 7 different men, and for providing unwavering support to Michael Jackson when he was on trial for child molestation. As friends for more than 20 years, Taylor said she loved Jackson “with all [her] soul,” and upon his death in June of 2009, she said “My life feels so empty. I don’t think anyone knew how much we loved each other.” Taylor said they bonded over the terrible childhoods they both had, and that they both felt that Hollywood had stolen them. For her 65th birthday, Jackson wrote her a song called, Elizabeth, I Love You, and together they enjoyed watching Walt Disney movies.