Illnesses and death
Taylor struggled with health problems much of her life; starting with her divorce from Hilton, Taylor experienced serious medical issues whenever she faced problems in her personal life. Taylor was hospitalized more than 70 times and had at least 20 major operations .Many times newspaper headlines erroneously announced that Taylor was close to death; she herself only claimed to have almost died on four occasions.
At 5'4", Taylor constantly gained and lost significant amounts of weight (known as yo-yo dieting), reaching both 119 pounds and 180 pounds in the 1980s.She smoked cigarettes into her mid-fifties,and feared she had lung cancer in October 1975 after an X-ray showed spots on her lungs, but was later found not to have the disease. Taylor broke her back five times, had both her hips replaced, had a hysterectomy, suffered from dysentery and phlebitis, punctured her esophagus, survived a benign brain tumor operation in 1997 and skin cancer, and faced life-threatening bouts with pneumonia twice, one in 1961 requiring an emergency tracheotomy. In 1983 she admitted to having been addicted to sleeping pills and painkillers for 35 years. Taylor was treated for alcoholism and prescription drug addiction at the Betty Ford Center for seven weeks from December 1983 to January 1984, and again from the autumn of 1988 until early 1989.
On May 30, 2006, Taylor appeared on “Larry King Live” to refute the claims that she had been ill, and denied the allegations that she was suffering from Alzheimer's disease and was close to death. Near the end of her life, however, she was reclusive and sometimes failed to make scheduled appearances due to illness or other personal reasons. She used a wheelchair and, when asked about it, stated that she had osteoporosis and was born with scoliosis.
The mutation that gave Taylor her striking double eyelashes may also have contributed to her history of heart trouble. In November 2004, Taylor announced a diagnosis of...