Oscar-winning acting legend Elizabeth Taylor has died in Los Angeles at the age of 79.

She died at Cedars-Sinai Hospital, where she was hospitalised for the past six weeks.

She had been in ill health in recent years and was being treated for symptoms of congestive heart failure. She had heart surgery in 2009.

Taylor was born in London in 1932 to American parents who subsequently returned to the US.

Her most famous roles were in films including Cleopatra, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Cat on A Hot Tin Roof, Butterfield 8, A Place In the Sun, Suddenly, Last Summer, Giant, and National Velvet.

She won two Oscars, for BUtterfield 8 and Virginia Woolf.

Taylor was also famous off-screen for her seven husbands, including Cleopatra co-star Richard Burton (who she married twice).

She was also a staunch supporter of AIDS charities.

Her publicist issued a statement saying that she died peacefully and that “she was surrounded by her children: Michael Wilding, Christopher Wilding, Liza Todd, and Maria Burton.” Tayloris also survived by 10 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

In a statement, 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.”

A private family funeral is planned for later this week. The family has asked that donations be made to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.

Taylor had recently embraced Twitter to update fans on her health, and the family said that fans are invited to post notes on her official Facebook page.