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Hollywood legend Raquel Welch passes away, aged 82

U.S. actress Raquel Welch, known among others for her star role in the 1973 movie “The Three Musketeers,” died on Wednesday at the age of 82 “after a brief illness,” her manager Steve Sauer announced.

‘One Million Years B.C.’ Actress and Hollywood Icon has died at age 82.

Welch "passed away peacefully early this morning after a brief illness," her manager Steve Sauer confirmed to PEOPLE on Wednesday.

📸 Getty

— Spur Play (@spurplay) February 16, 2023

Raquel Welch, born Jo Raquel Tejada, was the first of three children born to Bolivian immigrant Armando Carlos Tejada and American Josephine Sarah Hall in Chicago on September 5, 1940.

The future Hollywood star began her film career in niche productions, the most famous of which is “The Handyman,” in which she starred alongside Elvis Presley. Welch’s career gained momentum after starring in the 1966 sci-fi adventure film “Fantastic Voyage” and in “A Million Years B.C.,” where she played the role of an Amazonian girl in a skimpy animal skin bikini.

So sad to hear about Raquel Welch's passing. I loved working with her on Legally Blonde. She was elegant , professional and glamorous beyond belief. Simply stunning. May all her angels carry her home. 🕊️ Sending love to her family and her many fans ❤️

— Reese Witherspoon (@ReeseW) February 15, 2023

During the 1960s and 1970s, Raquel Welch achieved sex symbol status, taking the place of Marilyn Monroe, who had passed away in 1962. In 1995, Empire magazine named Welch one of the 100 sexiest movie stars in history, and she was ranked third on Playboy’s list of the 100 sexiest stars of the 20th century.

“The irony of it all is that even though people thought of me as a sex symbol, in reality I was a single mother of two small children,” she wrote in her autobiography titled “Beyond the Cleavage.”

In 1974, Welch won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for “The Three Musketeers,” in which she played Constance de Bonacieux.

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