In addition to her many professional accomplishments, Taylor was a staunch ally to the gay community and a leader in raising awareness and funds for HIV/AIDS research. She was one of the few in Hollywood to go to Rock Hudson and be with him when news broke of his battle with AIDS. She also helped actor Montgomery Clift come out, at least to himself.
Taylor was married eight times to seven men. She married actor Richard Burton twice. She was the Angelina Jolie of the 1950's when she broke up the marriage of singer Eddie Fisher and America's Sweetheart, Debbie Reynolds.
Via ABC News:
"She was surrounded by her children: Michael Wilding, Christopher Wilding, Liza Todd, and Maria Burton," Taylor's publicist, Sally Morrison, said in a statement.
"My Mother was an extraordinary woman who lived life to the fullest, with great passion, humor, and love," Michael Wilding said in a statement. "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."
In addition to her children, Taylor is survived by 10 grand children and four great grandchildren. Morrison said that a private family funeral will be held later this week. In lieu of flowers, the family asked that contributions be made to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and said that those wanting to send personal messages can log on to Taylor's official Facebook page.
Taylor, a two-time Academy Award-winning actress who in later life became notorious for her seven marriages and sometimes eccentric behavior, had reported health problems in recent years and appeared frail in public appearances. Six weeks ago, she was hospitalized with congestive heart failure. 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.