Los Angeles: Oscar winning Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor died here on Wednesday following heart failure. She was 79.

The violet-eyed 'Cleopatra' star with eight stormy marriages died away peacefully at the Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, surrounded by her four children, reported a news website.

The three-time Academy award winner was the first Hollywood actress to get a USD 1 million pay cheque.
 
"Legendary actress, businesswoman, and fearless activist Elizabeth Taylor died peacefully today in Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles," said the statement released by her long-time publicist Sally Morrison.

"She was surrounded by her children- Michael Wilding, Christopher Wilding, Liza Todd, and Maria Burton," it added, noting that she is also survived by 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Taylor had been hospitalized two months ago with congestive heart failure, a condition she'd struggled with for some years.

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.

The star's good looks earned her fans around the globe and her personal life, including eight tempestuous marriages and a head-line grabbing friendship with Michael Jackson, made her a legend.

The actress lived passionately and remained true to her larger-than-life persona to the very end, mirroring the Egyptian queen Cleopatra, whom she brought to life onscreen with Richard Burton in 1963.

Taylor first gained stardom as a child and went on to appear in more than 50 films in a career spanning four decades.

She won Oscars for her performances in 'Butterfield 8' in 1960 and 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' in 1966 and was awarded a third one in 1993, recognising her humanitarian work.

Taylor, born in the UK, debuted on the silver screen in 1942 at the age of 12 in 'There's One Born Every Minute', and by 1944 had become a child star with 'National Velvet', the story of a girl who rides her horse to victory at the Grand National disguised as a boy.

She married for the first time in 1950, aged 18, to playboy hotel chain heir Nicky Hilton. It was the first of her eight colourful marriages, including two walks down the aisle with British actor Richard Burton.

A woman of exceptional physical beauty, Taylor was one of the most photographed film stars of all time and men found her charms irresistible.

The cost of the diamonds bestowed upon her by Burton famously notched up more millions than they weighed in carats.

Though her torrid affairs earned her more tabloid space than her films, Taylor was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II on the Millenium New Year's Honours List in 1999 for her contribution to cinema.

(Agencies)