Silvio Horta, the creator of “Ugly Betty,” has been found dead in a Miami motel room, Variety reports. He was 45.
Sources tell the magazine that it was an apparent suicide, and that he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His rep confirmed his death, but not the cause.
After the shocking news broke, the show's executive producer Ben Silverman told USA Today that Horta was "an incredible voice and talent and a rare person, a gay Cuban writer who hit the mainstream as a kid and never could quite keep up with his own success."
According to Horta's mom Anna, he struggled with depression and addiction. She told TMZ, "Through it all he always found a way to turn his struggle into laughter. Through his friendships, his love and his work in TV and films, Silvio touched the lives of millions, He was a kind and beautiful man. He may be gone but his light will shine on."
America Ferrera, who played Ugly Betty, wrote on Instagram, “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.”
Vanessa Williams, who portrayed Wilhelmina Slater on the show, opened up to "Extra's" Billy Bush via FaceTime, describing Horta as “so young, so talented, such a great career ahead of him, and just seemingly a happy guy.” Watch the video below.
She also remembered him on Instagram, writing, “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.”
“Ugly Betty” was a fan favorite about a Mexican-American woman named Betty Suarez living in Queens who lands a job at a fashion magazine in Manhattan. The Golden Globe-winning show aired from 2006 to 2010 and earned Horta an Emmy nomination and America a win.
Horta wrote the script for the 1998 horror movie “Urban Legend,” and was also behind the short-lived shows “The Chronicle” and “Jake 2.0.” Variety reports he most recently had a project in the works with Mary J. Blige in 2018.
More than 10 years ago, Horta opened up about the pressures of having a hit show. He told NewNowNext, "My first year doing this, people would constantly ask me, ‘Aren’t you happy? You must be thrilled. You’ve got a hit show. You must be having the time of your life.’ Well, no, I’m not. It’s all-consuming."
He admitted, "I was so exhausted by the time I got home on Friday night, I was just paralyzed. I didn’t want to go out, I didn’t want to socialize, and I had so much work to do. That was it. That was my life.”