‘Ugly Betty’ Creator Silvio Horta Found Dead at 45

“His talent and creativity brought me and so many others such joy & light,” series star America Ferrera said

America Ferrera Silvio Horta
Photo credit: Getty Images

Silvio Horta, creator of ABC comedy series “Ugly Betty,” was found dead in a Miami motel room Tuesday. His agent confirmed the news to Deadline but did not provide a cause of death. He was 45.

“I’m stunned and heartbroken to hear the devastating news of ‘Ugly Betty’ creator, Silvio Horta’s death,” posted series star America Ferrera on Instagram. “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 played the villainous Wilhemina Slater, tweeted, “His creativity and passion will be missed by so many of us that worked with him.

Horta’s reps did not respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

The creator’s show was adapted from Colombia’s “Yo soy Betty, la fea,” becoming a breakout success with Horta serving as showrunner and head writer.

“Ugly Betty” starred America Ferrera and ran for 4 seasons from 2006 to 2010. Horta co-created the series with Fernando Gaitán. Salma Hayek was an executive producer.

The show aired more than 80 episodes over four seasons from 2006-10. Ferrera won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for the show’s lead playing Betty Suarez, a Mexican-American girl from Queens who lands a job at a fashion magazine in Manhattan. Betty embraced her unique look, sporting including bangs, heavy-rimmed glasses and train-track braces — and independent attitude in the cutthroat world of New York fashion.

Horta was born in Miami on Aug. 14, 1974, the son of Cuban immigrants who divorced when he was 6. The writer graduated from Coral Gables Senior High School in 1992. That year, Horta came out as a gay man and went on to attend NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He left New York for Los Angeles in 1996.

Prior to “Ugly Betty,” Horta sold his screenplay for the horror film Urban Legend (2008) that starred Jared Leto and grossed $60 million worldwide. He then wrote for the series The Chronicle and Jake 2.0 

Variety was first to report the news of Horta’s death.