Screenwriter and TV producer Silvio Horta, best known for creating the popular ABC comedy-drama series Ugly Betty, has reportedly committed suicide. According to Variety, Horta died on Tuesday as the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, though other details about the incident remain unclear. A representative for Horta has also confirmed the writer's death, though no additional information was revealed. He was 45 years old.
In addition to creating Ugly Betty, Horta served as the showrunner and head writer of the series. It starred America Ferrera as a young New Yorker with adult braces and no fashion sense who somehow lands a job at a prestigious fashion magazine. Eric Mabius, Vanessa Williams, Tony Plana, Ana Ortiz, and Becki Newton also starred. The series turned out to be a big hit for ABC when it debuted in 2006, running for four seasons with 85 episodes overall. In 2007, the series won the Golden Globe Award for Best Comedy Series with Horta accepting the award along with the rest of the Ugly Betty team.
Ferrera has since expressed her heartbreak over Horta's passing in a post on Instagram. Along with a photo of Horta posing with Ferrera and the Ugly Betty team, Ferrera tells her followers she is "stunned and heartbroken" over the sad news. "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," Ferrera adds.
Born in Miami in 1974, Horta took an early interest in performing and was constantly on stage during high school for Experimental Theater programs. Following his graduation, Horta attended New York University's Tisch School of Arts where he majored in film. He then focused his attention on screenwriting, developing several movie screenplays which would be ultimately left unmade. His break came in 1998 with the release of the horror movie Urban Legend, which was written by Horta and directed by Jamie Blanks.
In the years after Urban Legend, Horta pursued television work. He created the Sci-Fi Channel series The Chronicle in 2001, which focused on a tabloid newspaper whose articles about monsters and aliens turn out to be true. Horta also created the sci-fi series Jake 2.0 for UPN, which starred Christopher Gorham and followed a computer expert who's given superhuman abilities courtesy of nanobots. After these shows and Ugly Betty, Horta would also write the television movie The Curse of the Fuentes Women in 2015.
Horta's survivors include his mother, Anna, and sister, Hilda, who addressed the writer's passing in a joint statement. "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," the statement reads in part. Our thoughts are with Anna, Hilda, and everyone else affected by Horta's death at this time. This news comes to us from Variety.