Silvio Horta, who brought the “Ugly Betty” television franchise to the United States, was found dead in Miami on Tuesday.
The executive producer and head writer of the television show died in a Miami motel room of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, reports Variety. He was 45 years old.
The news has been confirmed by a representative for Horta, who declined to comment on the nature of his death.
“Ugly Betty,” which ran on ABC from 2006 to 2010, was an adaptation of the Colombian telenovela “Yo Soy Betty, La Fea,” which has been remade in 25 countries since its Colombian premiere in 1999. The latest iteration of the show, “Betty en Nueva York,” aired on Telemundo in 2019.
The US version of the show introduced audiences to America Ferrera, was commended in Congress for its positive portrayal of Latino characters, and won over 60 awards including two Golden Globes and three Emmys.
Ferrara shared an emotional tribute to Horta on Instagram saying, “His talent and creativity brought me and so many others such joy & light."
Horta, who was of Cuban descent, was born in Miami. He attended NYU and began his Hollywood career as a writer. Prior to his work on “Ugly Betty,” Horta created and executive produced “Jake 2.0,” which ran on UPN from 2003 to 2004.
Christopher Gorham, who played the lead role in “Jake 2.0” and Henry on “Ugly Betty,” paid tribute to Horta on Instagram saying, “Silvio Horta gave me two of the greatest opportunities in my career with Jake 2.0 and Ugly Betty. I will be forever grateful for his creativity, his enormous heart, and his friendship.”