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The gay creator of Ugly Betty, Silvio Horta, has reportedly died by suicide, aged just 45-years-old

Lily Wakefield January 8, 2020
Ugly Betty creator Silvio Horta with America Ferrera

Actress America Ferrera and writer/producer Silvio Horta arrive at the 1st annual Hispanic Women in Entertainment breakfast in 2009. (Vince Bucci/Getty)

The gay creator of the iconic TV show Ugly Betty has died at just 45 years old, in what is rumoured to be a suicide.

According to Variety, Silvio Horta was found dead in a Miami motel room on Tuesday January 7 and sources told the publication that he died by suicide.

Horta’s representatives confirmed that he had passed away, but did not comment on the cause of death.

Ugly Betty, for with Horta was the show-runner and head writer, ran for four seasons on ABC from 2006 to 2010, and was adapted from the Colombian telenovela Yo Soy Betty, La Fea. 

America Ferrera played the lead character Betty Suarez, an unconventional New York fashion magazine employee. The cast also included Vanessa Williams as the magazine’s editor Wilhelmina Slater, and Michael Urie as her gay personal assistant Marc St. James.

Betty’s nephew Justin, who during the course of the show was also revealed to be gay, was portrayed by Mark Indelicato.

In 2009, Horta told The Advocate about Justin’s coming out journey, saying: “We want to tell a story of Justin coming to terms with his identity over the course of this whole year, and I think when he says that, it’s really the beginning of telling the story, as opposed to the end. It gives us a place to go to.

“He’s gonna be struggling with his identity, and that’s part of it that’s very realistic and relatable. Not really knowing who you are or what you are.”

ABC was honoured by the first-ever GLAAD Network Responsibility Index in 2007 for its LGBT+ representation, including shows like Ugly Betty.

Responding to the news of Horta’s death, Ferrera 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 and 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 also spoke out on Instagram, writing: “Still in shock after hearing the tragic news of our Ugly Betty creator Silvio Horta.

“His creativity and passion will be missed by so many of us that worked with him. May he Rest In Peace.”

If you are struggling with your mental health and are based in the US, you can contact The Trevor Project Lifeline for free on 1-866-488-7386 (open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

In the UK, you can call the Samaritans for free on 116 123 (open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or call the LGBT Foundation helpline on 0345 3 30 30 30 (open Monday to Friday between 10am and 6pm).

More: ABC, america ferrera, death, Michael Urie, Silvio Horta, suicide, ugly betty, Vanessa Williams

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