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Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor -- known to daytime fans as GENERAL HOSPITAL's original Helena Cassadine -- passed away early this morning at the age of 79. She had been hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles since February 11 with symptoms caused by congestive heart failure, and died peacefully while surrounded by her four children. "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. Sadly, this was not to be," says her publicist in a statement.
Taylor made her film debut as a child actress in 1942's There's One Born Every Minute, and shot to stardom as a 12-year-old in National Velvet. She is a two-time Oscar winner, and was famously married eight times to seven different men, but the soap world will forever remember the Hollywood legend for her portrayal of GH's Helena in 1981, who vowed revenge on Luke and Laura for the death of her husband, Mikkos, and placed a curse on the Spencers the day of their wedding. Taylor later made a cameo on ALL MY CHILDREN in 1984, as a cleaning lady in scenes with Carol Burnett's Verla Grubs and Eileen Herlie's Myrtle.
In addition to her children, Taylor is survived by 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.