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Monday, 1 August 2011

Elizabeth Taylor: history of health problems

  Taylor was born with the condition and suffered back problems all her life as a result.

"My body's a real mess," she admitted in a 2004 interview, aged 72.

"I've become one of those poor little women who's bent sideways. I feel so stupid and feeble that I can't do the work I was meant to do because of my bloody body."

Accidents also dogged the Hollywood star from her early days.

She broke her foot filming Lassie Come Home as a child, fell from her horse making National Velvet and underwent surgery to save her sight in 1953 after a flint fragment became embedded in her eye on the set of Elephant Walk.

There were dozens of operations for back pain, tonsilitis, appendicitis, kidney problems, bronchial infections, an ovarian cyst, and several broken bones acquired on various skiing holidays and film sets.

She underwent a partial hysterectomy and was admitted to hospital with amoebic dysentery.

In 1961 she almost died after contracting pneumonia and required an emergency tracheotomy, and in 2000 another bout of pneumonia left her clinging to life.

Doctors diagnosed a benign brain tumour in 1997, which was successfully removed.

She was treated for skin cancer in 2002.

In May 2005, after a piece in Vanity Fair noted her long absence from public life, she put on one last show by turning up at Sir Elton John's Oscar-night party.

With huge effort, she got out of her wheelchair and walked up to the cameras.

"I want to make sure that people know I'm still alive," she said.

Taylor was once asked why she had experienced so many brushes with death.

She replied: "I don't know. I have kind of wondered about that once or twice. And I think each time I have learned a lesson from it. Each time that I have almost died, while I have been recuperating and not quite knowing whether I was going to make it or not, you have time, plenty of time.

"Even an hour is plenty of time when you don't know whether you are going to live or not. And you think: Why did I make it? Why am I not dead? Everything indicated that I should be.

"There must be some reason that God wants me to live. There must be something left for me to do. And I have to find out what that something is and go out there and do it."

In May 2009 the star sent a message to her fans on the Twitter website, announcing she was home after a hospital stay. She thanked them "for all the love and support".

Publicist Dick Guttman said that she was admitted "for a routine visit".

 Dame Elizabeth, an avid Twitter user, also sent a tweet asking a friend to get her puppy past hospital security . . .

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