The double-Oscar winning actress was being treated for cogestive heart failure.
She found fame at the age of 12 but thanks to her colourful private life, acting prowess and AIDS charity work, she was never far from the public spotlight.
The peak of her film career came in the 1950s and 1960s, with four Oscar nominations in a row from 1958 to 1961 for Raintree County, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof and Suddenly, Last Summer before finally winning with her fourth nomination Butterfield 8.
Her second Oscar came in 1967 for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, one of 12 films with husband Richard Burton with whom she had a tempestuous relationship. She met Burton on the set of Cleopatra (which will go down in history as one of the most expensive films ever made costing $44 million) in 1963 by which time she’d already been married four times to Conrad Hilton, Michael Wilding, Michael Todd and Eddie Fisher. Her relationship with Burton would see them marry in 1964 before divorcing and remarrying in 1975 before she had further marriages with John W Warner and Larry Fortensky.
She had a history of health problems beginning with National Velvet in 1944 after which she had a lifetime of back problems and faced alcoholism and an addiction to painkillers. She battled pneumonia in 1961 which almost killed her and endured two hip-replacement operations in the 1990s before facing pneumonia again and an operation for a benign brain tumour in 1997.
Despite her failing health she campaigned tirelessly for her AIDS charity, ETAF which she set up after the death of her friend Rock Hudson in 1991.
She is survived by two sons, two daughters and nine grandchildren.