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Elizabeth Taylor Dies at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles at 79: Her Children Were at Her Side

Updated at the end with church wackos planning to protest her funeral because Taylor was a friend of the gay community.

Check out our slide show of 12 of Taylor's most iconic roles here.

Check out our piece about reaction from the HIV/AIDS activism community here.

Elizabeth Taylor died with her children at her side at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center near Beverly Hills this morning. She was 79.

The two-time Oscar Award winner succumbed to congestive heart failure.

Her children -- Michael and Christopher Wilding; Liza Todd and Maria Burton -- were with her, according to her publicist, Sally Morrison.

She was survived by 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Taylor died at 1:28 a.m., according to TMZ. She had been in the hospital for at least two weeks, according to the site.

Elizabeth Taylor's star on the Walk of Fame Wednesday.
Elizabeth Taylor's star on the Walk of Fame Wednesday.
Ted Soqui

A private service was scheduled for later this week.

Taylor with husband Mike Todd and daughter Liza Todd.
Taylor with husband Mike Todd and daughter Liza Todd.

Son Michael Wilding stated:

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.

People gathered around Taylor's star on the Walk of Fame Wednesday.
People gathered around Taylor's star on the Walk of Fame Wednesday.
Ted Soqui

A child actor born in London, Taylor broke out in National Velvet during World War II, in 1944.

The 1940s would be good to her, with hits that included Giant, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Cleopatra.

She became Hollywood's first $1-million-a-film actress decades before such a rate would become the norm.

She won Best Actress Oscars in the 1960s for Butterfield 8 and Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolf.

Taylor was married eight times.

She nearly died of viral pneumonia in 1990.

TMZ reports she has a plot at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, where many stars, including Marilyn Monroe, are buried.

A wreath for Elizabeth.
A wreath for Elizabeth.
Ted Soqui

Added: People started to gather this morning around her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where flowers had been placed.

Tributes included a tweet from Earvin "Magic" Johnson, who wrote, "Elizabeth, thank you for all your help in the battle for HIV and AIDS. You will be missed by the world."

Former U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, head of the Motion Picture Association of America, stated:

Her talent endured the test of time and transcended generations of moviegoers. She truly was an American icon, whose legacy went far beyond her acting skills, most notably in her efforts to lead the battle against HIV/AIDS.

Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation:

Elizabeth Taylor holds a special place in the hearts of people with AIDS and their supporters for the tireless offorts to combat this dreaded disease Long before it was fashionable, she was there by our side. We will miss her.

[IMDB].

Update:

Margie Phelps, daughter of Westboro Baptist Church pastor Fred Phelps, tweeted today that the church will "picket" Taylor's upcoming funeral, ostensibly because the actress was a friend of the gay community.

She tweets, hatefully:

Hello rebels! RIP Elizabeth Taylor is in hell as sure as you're reading this & getting mad as a wet hen. She should've obeyed God. Too late!

And:

No RIP Elizabeth Taylor who spent her life in adultery and enabling proud fags. They cuss her in hell today. #Westboro will picket funeral!

Maybe Phelps underestimates L.A. This isn't the Deep South. And her kind won't be welcome kindly. Good luck.

First posted at 9:48 a.m.

-With reporting from City News Service. Got news? Email us. Follow us on Twitter, too: @dennisjromero.