Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor, whose career spanned seven decades, died Wednesday (Mar. 23) of congestive heart failure at age 79.
Billboard.com remembers Taylor not just for her legacy as an Oscar-winning actress, captivating celebrity and philanthropist, but also for her long-lasting friendship with Michael Jackson, another child star who achieved incredible feats under intense public scrutiny.
Jackson and Taylor became friends in the 1980s, and as the actress told Oprah Winfrey in an interview, their chemistry was immediate. “Our childhoods are very similiar, and we had that from the very beginning in common,” she said. “I was a child star at nine, had an abusive father, and that kind of brought us together.”
After the King of Pop’s untimely death on June 25, 2009, Taylor issued a deeply emotional statement. “My heart…my mind… are broken,” she said. “I loved Michael with all my soul and I can’t imagine life without him. We had so much in common and we had such loving fun together.”
“I keep looking at the photo he gave me of himself, which says, ‘To my true love Elizabeth, I love you forever,’ ” Taylor added. ” ‘And, I will love HIM forever.” Taylor attended the funeral service for Jackson on July 7, 2009.
Jackson’s brother, Tito Jackson, has issued his own statement on Taylor’s passing today. “Most memorable is her steadfast loyalty and unwavering friendship to my late brother Michael Jackson,” he said. “Liz provided a sense of relief and comfort to my brother at various difficult times in his life, and I appreciate that, may she rest in peace.”