Elizabeth Taylor Dies at Age 79

Elizabeth Taylor dead
Photo: Getty Images
Elizabeth Taylor has passed away at age 79

Screen legend Dame Elizabeth Taylor passed away at the age of 79 early this morning after suffering congestive heart failure, her publicist has confirmed to People.

"She peacefully died [at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where the actress had been admitted in February]," publicist Sally Morrison said. "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."

Taylor, who recently sat down for a Harper's Bazaar interview with Kim Kardashian, was surrounded by her four children in her final moments, closing the final chapter on what was a life filled with romance (she had eight marriages with seven husbands), drama, and, of course, diamonds.

Her philanthropic work was recognized last month when amfAR, which she co-founded, honored the star with the Award of Courage. Sir Elton John accepted on her behalf with a message from Taylor: "I am there in spirit and I join you in saluting my fellow honorees [President Bill Clinton and Diane von Furstenberg] and all these extraordinary leaders. I'm inspired by their example, exhilarated by their vision, and encouraged by their compassion and love. And I love them in return."

Famed for her striking violet eyes and raven hair, the former child actress transformed into a leading lady (with two Oscars under her belt) thanks to iconic roles in Giant, Butterfield 8, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.

Elizabeth Taylor dead
Photo: Getty Images
Elizabeth Taylor, 1959

And though her frequent trips down the aisle earned plenty of tabloid ink, it was her dazzling presence—whether in the gilded costumes of Cleopatra or her dripping-with-diamonds looks off the set—and foray into the fragrance industry that signaled a different sort of passion.

In addition to designing her own jewelry line and boasting one of the world's most extravagant collections of baubles, Taylor launched three perfumes, Passion, Black Pearl, and White Diamonds, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year and has been named the best-selling celebrity fragrance of all time.

"For me, life happened, just as it does for anyone else," Taylor told Kardashian in her Harper's Bazaar piece. 

"I have been supremely lucky in my life in that I have known great love, and of course I am the temporary custodian of some incredible and beautiful things. But I have never felt more alive than when I watched my children delight in something, never more alive than when I have watched a great artist perform, and never richer than when I have scored a big check to fight AIDS. Follow your passion, follow your heart, and the things you need will come."