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The Nation

March 23, 2011

Film legend Elizabeth Taylor dies at 79 in LA

LOS ANGELES — Screen legend Elizabeth Taylor, the violet-eyed film goddess whose sultry screen life was often upstaged by her stormy personal life, died Wednesday at age 79.

She died of congestive heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she had been hospitalized for about six weeks, publicist Sally Morrison said.

"My Mother was an extraordinary woman who lived life to the fullest, with great passion, humor, and love," her son, Michael Wilding, said in a statement.

"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."

Wilding and Taylor's three other children were with her. She is also survived buy 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Taylor had extraordinary grace, fame and wealth, and won three Oscars, including a special one for her humanitarian work. But she was tortured by ill health, failed romances and personal tragedy.

"I think I'm becoming fatalistic," she said in 1989. "Too much has happened in my life for me not to be fatalistic."

Her eight marriages — including two to actor Richard Burton — and a lifelong battle with substance abuse, physical ailments and overeating made Taylor as popular in supermarket tabloids as in classic film festivals.

Taylor disclosed in November 2004 that she had congestive heart failure. But she still periodically dismissed reports that she was at death's door, saying she used a wheelchair only because of chronic back problems that began at age 12 when she fell from a horse.

"Oh, come on, do I look like I'm dying?" she said in May 2006 in a rare television interview on CNN's "Larry King Live." ''Do I look like or sound like I have Alzheimer's?" Tabloids report such things "because they have nothing else dirty to write about anybody else," she said.

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