Screen legend and social activist Elizabeth Taylor died early Wednesday morning, a rep for the actress announced. She was 79.
The actress died peacefully at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, Calif. surrounded by her children Michael Wilding, Christopher Wilding, Liza Todd, and Maria Burton. In addition to her children, Taylor is survived by 10 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.
She had been hospitalized six weeks ago with congestive heart failure, a condition with which she had struggled for some years. Though she had recently suffered a number of complications, her condition had stabilized and hoped existed that she would be able to return home.
"My Mother was an extraordinary woman who lived life to the fullest, with great passion, humor, and love. Though her loss is devastating to those of us who held her so close and so dear, we will always be inspired by her enduring contribution to our world," son Michael Wilding said in a statement.
"Her remarkable body of work in film, her ongoing success as a businesswoman, and her brave and relentless advocacy in the fight against HIV/AIDS, all make us all incredibly proud of what she accomplished," the statement continued. "We know, quite simply, that the world is a better place for Mom having lived in it. Her legacy will never fade, her spirit will always be with us, and her love will live forever in our hearts."
Taylor's close friend Elton John also issued a statement on Wednesday.
"We have just lost a Hollywood giant; more importantly, we have lost an incredible human being," Elton John said:
Some of Taylor's notable screen credits include "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf?," "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," and "Giant." During her career she was nominated for five Academy Awards and took home the Oscar for "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf?," and "Butterfield 8."
A private family funeral will be held later this week. The Taylor family is asking fans, in lieu of flowers, that contributions be made to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. Fans can also leave messages for Taylor's family on her Facebook account, HERE.
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