Heartbreaking news just came across the airwaves. Elizabeth Taylor, 79 years old, died early this morning. Born February 27, 1932, Ms. Taylor was an English-American actress who started as a child film star. She was known for her talent, beauty, Hollywood lifestyle, many marriages and most recently, her charitable work.
Ms. Taylor had recently been hospitalized for congestive heart failure.
Elizabeth Taylor had dedicated her life to many charities but the one that was closest to her is amfAR. The Foundation for AIDS Research was founded after the death of her close friend Rock Hudson. She also created the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and devoted much of her time to fundraising. In January, amfAR celebrated her achievements at a party in New York celebrating the organization’s 25th anniversary. To calculate her charitable achievements, Wikipedia reports that as of 1999, Ms. Taylor had helped raise “an estimated $50 million to fight AIDS.”
“It is bad enough that people are dying of AIDS, but no one should die of ignorance.” — Ms. Elizabeth Taylor
Ms. Taylor had been hospitalized for the past two months. “At the time of her death, she was surrounded by her children — Michael Wilding, Christopher Wilding, Liza Todd and Maria Burton,” publicist Sally Morrison said in a statement, adding that Taylor was also survived by 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Her husbands included: Conrad “Nicky” Hilton (1950-51), Michael Wilding (1952-57), Michael Todd (1957-58), Eddie Fisher (1959-64), Richard Burton (1964-74 and 1975-76), John Warner (1976-82) and Larry Fortensky (1991-1996). Michael Todd died in a plane crash, leaving her a widow, but she divorced all the others.
Michael Wilding said, “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.”
Elizabeth Taylor lived a life full of excitement, hard work, love, heartache and pain. Her movies will be watched for years to come. But, her charitable work has brought change and progress that will be remembered by millions. We admire her for leading by example.
The American Foundation for AIDS Research also issued a statement, saying: “The board of trustees and staff of amfAR mourn the passing of our beloved Founding International Chairman, Dame Elizabeth Taylor. Dame Elizabeth was without doubt one of the most inspirational figures in the fight against AIDS. She was among the first to speak out on behalf of people living with HIV when others reacted with fear and often outright hostility. For 25 years, Dame Elizabeth has been a passionate advocate of AIDS research, treatment and care. She has testified eloquently on Capitol Hill, while raising millions of dollars for amfAR. Dame Elizabeth’s compassion, radiance, and generosity of spirit will be greatly missed by us all. She leaves a monumental legacy that has improved and extended millions of lives and will enrich countless more for generations to come.”