Gone Too Soon: Inside The Fatal Heart Condition That Killed Elizabeth Taylor

The iconic actress battled a prescription drug addiction and alcohol abuse for years.

In 2004 — seven years before Elizabeth Taylor’s death — the actress was diagnosed with a deadly heart condition called congestive heart failure.

Now, REELZ’s new docuseries, Autopsy: Elizabeth Taylor, Sunday, hopes to shine a light on the tragic illness that led the Hollywood beauty to her early grave.

“This is when the heart is unable to pump sufficiently to maintain blood flow to meet the body’s needs. It occurs when the heart grows weak or stiff,” Dr. Michael Hunter says of Taylor’s CHF.

“Signs and symptoms commonly include shortness of breath, and excessive fatigue,” he continues. “CHF is often the result of a number of factors including high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and valvular heart disease: issues that are common for heavy smokers, and drinkers.” readers know Elizabeth Taylor passed away on March 23, 2011, in Los Angeles. She was 79 at the time, and while her death devastated fans around the world, pals were not surprised the actress’ heavy drinking and prescription drug abuse led to her demise.

“People with the disease can prolong life by changing lifestyle, taking medications and possibly having heart surgery. But ultimately, congestive heart failure is a life sentence with a life expectancy of around five years for 50 percent of patients,” adds Hunter in the show teaser.

Autopsy: Elizabeth Taylor airs Sunday, May 6 at 9:00 ET / PT on REELZ.