Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor is being treated for congestive heart failure at the Cedar Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles, her spokesperson Sally Morrison said. The 78-year-old actress had been diagnosed with the condition in November 2004.

It is not clear how long she will be at the hospital and her friends and family members have expressed a desire for privacy and to let the doctors work in peace.

Taylor was to attend the amfAR benefit gala on Wednesday in New York where she was to receive an award for her work in support of AIDS. Elton John accepted the award on her behalf. He relayed her message, I am there in spirit and I join you in saluting my fellow honorees and all these extraordinary leaders. I am inspired by their example, exhilarated by their vision, and encouraged by their compassion and love. And I love them in return.

Elizabeth Taylor has appeared in more than 50 films and has won two Oscars for her roles in Butterfield 8 (1960) and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966).  She has been more in the news for her beauty and famous eight marriages than her acting prowess. Her two marriages with Richard Burton, another iconic actor, and divorces have attracted reams of articles and speculations.

The actress has fought a long battle with physical ailments and substance abuse. She had near-fatal bouts with pneumonia in 1961 and 1990, and 1992. She had both hip joints replaced in 1994 and 1995 and had a benign brain tumor. She suffered a spinal fracture and Scoliosis which left her nearly bed-ridden. In recent years she has been sighted in wheel-chairs in public.