Anita Ekberg has died in Rome after a series of illnesses, aged 83.

The Swedish actress, model and sex symbol is best known for bathing in the Trevi fountain - one of Rome's most popular landmarks - in 'La Dolce Vita', Federico Fellini's film about a restless reporter who drifts through life in the Italian capital city.

Ekberg, who was born in Malmo, Sweden, in 1931, had been in a wheelchair for several years after she was knocked down by one of her pet Great Danes, which led to a broken hip.

Ekberg was named Miss Sweden at the age of 20, after which she traveled to the US to compete in the Miss Universe contest.

Although she failed to win the high-profile event, Ekberg - who spoke very little English at the time - was signed to a contract by Universal Pictures.

She was cast in the role of Henry Fonda's unfaithful wife in King Vidor's 'War and Peace' in 1956.

While in Rome she met director Federico Fellini, who cast her as Sylvia Rank in 'La Dolce Vita'.

She was the sixth of eight children and once said that her father, a strict Protestant, was ''the apple of my eye'', though she ultimately fell out with all but one of her siblings.

Ekberg was married twice - to Anthony Steel from 1956 until their divorce in 1959 and to Rik Van Nutter from 1963 until they divorced in 1975.