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OTRC: Elizabeth Taylor dies at age 79 of congestive heart failure

Elizabeth Taylor appears in a promotional image for 'Cleopatra' in 1963. (Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)

Legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor has died at the age of 79, her publicist confirmed.

Taylor died peacefully at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. She was surrounded by her children Michael Wilding, Christopher Wilding, Liza Todd, and Maria Burton.

The actress was hospitalized in February with congestive heart failure, a condition she had struggled with for years, according to her family.

Taylor was known to the world over the years for her beauty and talent, her AIDS activism and philanthropic work, as well as her many marriages.

Taylor's son Michael Wilding released the following statement:

"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 funeral will be held later this week. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.

The actress, who has in recent years used a wheelchair when appearing in public, is known for roles in films such as "Cleopatra" and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

Taylor was also known as a close friend of singer Michael Jackson, who died in 2009, and often appeared in modern pop culture. On the HBO series "Sex and the City," Charlotte, played by Kristin Davis, named her dog, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, after the actress, who she called "the prettiest girl in the world." In 1992, Taylor provided the voice of usually-silent baby Maggie Simpson on the hit animated series "The Simpsons."

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