As reported by Variety, TV writer Silvio Horta—best known as the creator Ugly Betty—has died. An official cause of death has not been confirmed, but Variety’s sources say it was a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Horta was 45.
Horta was born in Miami in 1974, and his first break into the movie business came in 1998 when his screenplay for Urban Legend got produced, becoming a hit horror movie with Jared Leto, Alicia Witt, and Tara Reid. In the early 2000s, he wrote pair of sci-fi TV shows, including The Chronicle (which focused on a tabloid newspaper that realized the aliens and monsters it reported on were real) and Jake 2.0 (which was about a government employee who accidentally gets nanobot-enhanced super-abilities). Octavia Spencer appeared on The Chronicle and Christopher Gorham starred on Jake 2.0, with both of them later going on to appear on Horta’s biggest hit, Ugly Betty.
Adapted from a successful Colombian TV show called Yo So Betty, La Fea, Horta turned Ugly Betty into a smash-hit that ran for four seasons on ABC. At its height, the show was an undeniable phenomenon that helped solidify the career of star America Ferrera. On Instagram, Ferrera said Horta’s creativity brought her “and so many others such joy and light.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.