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Elizabeth Taylor dead at 79

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ABC News is reporting that actress Elizabeth Taylor died early this morning at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles at the age of seventy-nine. Though no cause of death has been released at this time, Taylor's had significant medical problems in the past — everything from pneumonia to brain surgery — and six weeks ago went to the hospital for congestive heart failure. Her publicist said she was surrounded by her children, and this is what her son Michael Wilding, had to say:

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.

Taylor was a Hollywood icon for her roles in films such as Cleopatra, National Velvet, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and she's consistently considered one of Hollywood's greatest stars. She was also famous for her tabloid-ready personal life, having been married eight times, though only to seven men. (Did anyone else realize she had once married into the Hilton family?) I will also remember her fondly for being a part of one of the craziest wedding parties ever.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that people instead make donations to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. RIP, Elizabeth.