Legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor has passed away at age 79.
The three-time Oscar winner (five times nominated) died of congestive heart failure, a condition she had suffered from for many years.
Taylor had recently suffered serious complications due to her heart condition and was hospitalized six weeks ago. Her condition was eventually stabilized, and it was hoped she would recover fully. Sadly she never did.
Taylor's children were at her side when she passed away, and her son Michael Wilding has released the following statement:
"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. 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. 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."
As an actress, Taylor had one of the greatest careers in show business. She was born in London in 1932 and had barley aged into double digits before she was starring in motion pictures. Her mother had been an actress and encouraged her daughter to follow suit; when World War II began, Taylor's family moved to the United States, where the young actress would break into the Hollywood limelight. Over the course of her career, Taylor would star in over 50 films.
She won two Oscars for Best Actress: in 1961 for BUtterfield 8 and in 1967 for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. She was also nominated three other times for Best Actress, for the films Raintree County (1958), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1959), and Suddenly Last Summer (1959). The Academy also awarded Taylor an honorary Oscar (the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award) in 1993 for her gracious humanitarian work - most notably in the field of AIDS research.
Taylor was the embodiment of old Hollywood glamor and beauty. It was a persona she embraced and even poked fun at, releasing products like her "White Diamonds" perfume - even going so far as to openly mock her extravagant tastes in an episode of The Simpsons. (Sidenote: Taylor also provided the voice for Maggie Simpson in the episode "Lisa's First Word", when the perpetually silent baby famously spoke for the first time.)
The actress's off-screen life was just as famous (if not infamous) as her onscreen work. She was married a whopping eight times to men ranging from famous Hollywood names (Michael Wilding), to wealthy heirs (Conrad Hilton Jr.), a Senator (John Warner) and even a construction worker (Larry Fortensky). These were often-wild relationships that yielded juicy headlines for the tabloids to feed on. Her most infamous romance was, of course, the affair with her Cleopatra leading man, Richard Burton. The steamy (and highly controversial) off-screen romance left its impression onscreen, and has since preserved Cleopatra as a classic.
On the darker side of things, Taylor had issues with substance abuse, overeating, and of course, the multitude of health problems that plagued her over the course of her life. However, despite her issues she remained beloved and relevant throughout her lifetime - she even joined Twitter to keep her legion of fans updated about how she was doing.
In closing, we'd like to remember the words that Elizabeth Taylor spoke while receiving her the Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1993:
"I call upon you to draw from the depths of your being — to prove that we are a human race, to prove that our love outweighs our need to hate, that our compassion is more compelling than our need to blame."
Screen Rant would like to extended our condolences to Mrs. Taylor's family and friends in their time of grieving.
R.I.P. ELIZABETH TAYLOR: February 27, 1932 - March 23, 2011