Elizabeth Taylor improving, but remains in hospital

Tue Feb 15, 2011 6:35pm EST
 
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Elizabeth Taylor's medical condition is improving, but the Hollywood film legend will remain hospitalized for the foreseeable future under the close care of doctors, her spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

The two-time Oscar winner was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles last week suffering symptoms of congestive heart failure, which has been an ongoing health problem for the 78 year-old Taylor.

"Elizabeth Taylor has been comfortable over the past few days in Cedars-Sinai. Since being admitted, there has been steady improvement in her condition, and over the weekend she has had visits from family and close friends.

"Her medical team is gratified by her progress to date, and it is hoped and expected that this will continue over the next few days. For now, she will remain under their care in the hospital for continued monitoring," according to a statement released by her spokeswoman.

She underwent heart surgery in 2009 to replace a leaky valve, and in 2004 announced that she had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure -- a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to other organs.

Taylor has been using a wheelchair for more than five years to cope with chronic pain after breaking her back four times, and she has had three hip-replacement operations, a benign brain tumor, skin cancer and pneumonia.

Taylor, an Oscar winner for "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" in 1966 and "Butterfield 8: in 1960, first achieved stardom at the age of 12 in "National Velvet".

As a young woman, she became famous not just for her acting, but for her beauty.. Her violet eyes and dark alluring features led her into eight marriages -- twice to actor Richard Burton.

Taylor still makes appearances at charity events, especially those connected to her AIDS foundation, but has not appeared on screen since the 2001 TV movie "Old Broads". Her last Hollywood movie role was in the 1994 live action comedy "The Flintstones".

(Editing by Jill Serjeant)