RAQUEL WELCH, who paved the way as both an actress and international sex symbol has died … TMZ has learned.

According to family members, Raquel died this morning after a brief illness.

Welch first rose to fame for her back-to-back roles in “Fantastic Voyage” and “One Million Years B.C.” — both in 1966.

From there, Welch’s profile blew up, and she was one of the most sought-after female stars throughout the ’60s and ’70s … taking home plenty of hardware in the process, including a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Actress in a Musical or Comedy for her 1974 role in “The Three Musketeers.”

Welch was named one of the “100 Sexiest Stars in Film History” in an issue of Empire magazine in 1995 … and was ranked #3 in Playboy’s “100 Sexiest Stars of the 20th CeRaquel Welchntury.”

With Joe Namath around 1972

Raquel was married 4 times throughout her life — James Welch (’59-’64), Patrick Curtis (’67-’72), Andre Weinfeld (’80-’90) and Richard Palmer (’99-’04) — with 2 kids, Tahnee and Damon Welch.

Raquel was 82.



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