Stars pay tribute to late Elizabeth Taylor

Many stars are paying tribute to Dame Elizabeth Taylor, namely Madonna and Barbara Streisand, following her death yesterday in Los Angeles at the age of 79.

The Material Girl star said "I am so sorry to hear that this great legend has passed."

"I admired and respected her not only as an actress but for her amazing and inspiring work as an Aids activist," Madonna said.

"It's the end of an era," said Streisand in her tribute. "It wasn't just her beauty or her stardom. It was her humanitarianism."

"She put a face on HIV/Aids. She was funny. She was generous. She made her life count."

A winner of two Oscars, Taylor had a history of ill health and was being treated for symptoms of congestive heart failure at the time of her death.

Her four children were with her when she died in her sleep at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Wednesday.

Dame Elizabeth's passing prompted scores of tributes from her Hollywood contemporaries, among them Shirley MacLaine, Mickey Rooney and Liza Minnelli.

"I don't know what was more impressive - her magnitude as a star or her magnitude as a friend," said MacLaine. "Her talent for friendship was unmatched. I will miss her for the rest of my life and beyond."

Rooney, who starred opposite Taylor in 1944's National Velvet, remembered her as "a lady who gave of herself to everyone".

Minnelli, meanwhile, remembered her as "a true star" and friend who "was always, always there for me."

Dame Julie Andrews, who received her damehood on the same day as London-born Taylor in May 2000, said Liz was a dear friend. "She was a great legendary lady of Hollywood and she will be mourned worldwide."

Additional tributes were paid by Debbie Reynolds, Barry Manilow and La Toya Jackson, who said she had been an "incredible friend" of her late brother Michael.

Beyond the movie and music industries, Taylor's passing has also been marked by leading figures in the world of politics.

"Elizabeth's legacy will live on in many people around the world whose lives will be longer and better because of her work and the ongoing efforts of those she inspired," said former President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary, now US Secretary of State.

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said she had "forever marked the history of the Seventh Art" and had been "devoted from the youngest age to a limitless passion for film".

"I shall remember her as a woman whose heart and soul were as beautiful as her classic face and majestic eyes," said John Warner, the former US senator who became Taylor's sixth husband in 1976.

Former first lady Nancy Reagan, meanwhile, remembered her as a woman who was "passionate, and compassionate, about everything in her life, including her family, her friends and especially the victims of Aids.

"She was truly a legend and we will miss her."

In Los Angeles, Taylor's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame has been deluged by flowers, photos and notes from fans.

A private family funeral will be held later this week.