Actress Elizabeth Taylor passed away earlier this morning at the age of 79 at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. The actress had been hospitalized for the past six weeks. She passed away from congestive heart failure.

Elizabeth Taylor started acting at the age of 10, with early memorable roles in movies such as Lassie Come Home, her breakout role in National Velvet, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The actress won two Academy Awards for her performances in Butterfield 8 in 1960 and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in 1966. She later won the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the 1993 Oscars. This Old Hollywood beauty transcended her craft and became an international icon, despite her involvement in one of the biggest Hollywood flops of all time, 1963's Cleopatra. She became even more famous for her personal life which included eight marriages and seven divorces, two of which were with actor Richard Burton.

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Here's a statement released by Elizabeth Taylor's family after her passing.

"Legendary actress, businesswoman, and fearless activist Elizabeth Taylor died peacefully today in Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. She was surrounded by her children - Michael Wilding Jr., Christopher Wilding, Liza Todd Burton, and Maria Burton. She was 79 years old. In addition to her children, she is survived by 10 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.

The actress 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 it was hoped that she would be able to return home. Sadly, this was not to be.

Her son, Michael Wilding Jr., said tonight:

"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."

A private family funeral later this week. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation ( People wanting to send personal messages can log onto

It is respectfully asked that the public allow the family privacy at this difficult time. Details of a memorial service will be announced at a later date."