Elizabeth Taylor dies at 79

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Elizabeth Taylor, film icon and classic movie star of more than 50 films, famous for her violet colored eyes, a goddess of the silver screen,  a woman with a personal life as exciting and dramatic as any of her films, passed away Wednesday at age 79. Elizabeth Taylor

Her publicist, Sally Morrison said her four children were with when she died of congestive heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she had been hospitalized for about six weeks.

Taylor’s son, Michael Wilding said in a statement, “”My mother was an extraordinary woman who lived life to the fullest, with great passion, humor, and love. 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.”

Director Mike Nichols recalls his “Virginia Woolf” star, “The shock of Elizabeth was not only her beauty. It was her generosity. Her giant laugh. Her vitality, whether tackling a complex scene on film or where we would all have dinner until dawn. She is singular and indelible on film and in our hearts.”

Beyond Taylor’s legendary beauty, fame and strength, she possessed extraordinary grace, and of the three Academy Awards she received, one was especially meaningful to her: the one for her humanitarian work. Taylor was a valiant defender of the gay community and those afflicted with AIDS, decades before much was known about the disease. She spoke openly of the need to support the people stricken by AIDS and the need for fund raising in order to finance research for a cure.

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