This morning the world was dealt a heavy blow. It was announced that legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor had died from congestive heart failure. She was 79 years old. During the height of her career she was the most envied star in Hollywood. Taylor was a striking beauty who stood out amongst cinema’s elite.

Unlike starlets today, Taylor’s good looks were equally matched by her talent. We watched her grow from a rambunctious 12 year old in National Velvet to a sultry housewife in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Her persona was often imitated but never duplicated. As we look back on her amazing career, we want to salute the legend.

Elizabeth Taylor was born on February 27, 1932 in London, England to American parents. She moved to the U.S. at the age of seven, to escape the escalating dangers of World War II in Europe. At the age of 14 she landed her first leading film role opposite Mickey Rooney in the family classic National Velvet. When she appeared on screen, a star was born and critics knew it.

Taylor went on to star in over 50 films, which spanned her six decade career. Some of her most notable hits include Little Women, Father of the Bride, A Place in the Sun, Giant, BUtterfield 8, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf? The latter two films earned Taylor her two Academy Awards, amongst five nominations. Check out never before seen photos of the actress here.

Most people saw Taylor as a glamorous character on screen but her personal life was filled with tragedy and controversy. She was married eight times to seven men (she wed Richard Burton twice), one of them died in a tragic accident, one she supposedly stole from another woman ( Eddie Fisher), and another was a politician.

Over the past decade, Taylor’s health had steadily declined. A lot of people assume her difficulties came from old age, but according to those close to her, her entire life was filled with sickness. She even stated that she nearly died four times. She had a tracheotomy, hysterectomy, hip replacements, skin cancer, and a brain tumor, which was successfully removed in 1997.

Taylor was a strong cookie who endured her fair share of battles. She was a mother of four, a wife, a philanthropist, a businesswoman, a survivor, and a legend. Some affectionately refer to as “the last great movie star” a title we wholeheartedly agree with. What’s your favorite Elizabeth Taylor film?