Silvio Horta, best known for creating the hit ABC sitcom Ugly Betty, has died. He was 45.
Horta died by suicide from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner Department confirms to EW. He was found dead on Tuesday in a Miami motel room.
On Wednesdays, Horta’s mother, Anna, and sister, Hilda, shared an official statement on his passing. “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our dear brother and son, Silvio Horta,” it read. “Through his friendships, his love and his work in TV and films, Silvio touched the lives of millions. Silvio had an ongoing struggle with addiction and depression, but through it all, he always found a way to turn his struggle into laughter. He was a kind and beautiful man. He may be gone but his light will shine on.”
A writer and producer, Horta rose to fame when he adapted the hit Colombian telenovela Yo soy Betty, la fea into sitcom Ugly Betty, starring America Ferrera. Horta won a Golden Globe for Best Comedy Series in 2007; Ferrera also won a Golden Globe for her performance that same year. He served as showrunner and head writer on the series, which ran for four seasons (2006-2010) on ABC.
Besides Ugly Betty, Horta was best known for writing the screenplay to 1998 horror-thriller Urban Legend. His TV credits also include The Chronicle and Jake 2.0.
Silvio Horta was born Aug. 14, 1974 in Miami, Fla. He was interested in the arts from a young age, participating in drama and writing his first plays while still in high school before moving on to NYU where he studied film.
Ferrera, who starred as the titular character in Ugly Betty, shared a tribute to Horta on her Instagram page, writing, “I’m stunned and heartbroken to hear the devastating news of Ugly Betty creator, Silvio Horta’s death. His talent and creativity brought me and so many others such joy & light. I’m thinking of his family and loved ones who must be in so much pain right now- and of the whole Ugly Betty family who feel this loss so deeply.”
Her costar Vanessa Williams also remembered Horta on social media along with a photo of them. “Still in shock after hearing the tragic news of our #uglybetty creator #silviohorta 💔 His creativity and passion will be missed by so many of us that worked with him. May he Rest In Peace,” she wrote.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).