Silvio Horta, best known as an executive producer of the television series “Ugly Betty” on ABC, died early Tuesday in Miami. He was 45.
Mr. Horta was found in a hotel room, “suffering from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound,” Christopher Thomas, a Miami-Dade Police Department detective, said Wednesday. “Preliminary evidence suggests that this is possibly a suicide.”
The cause of death will be determined by the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner Department, Mr. Thomas said.
“Through his friendships, his love and his work in TV and films, Silvio touched the lives of millions,” Mr. Horta’s mother, Anna Horta, and his sister Hilda Horta said in a statement Wednesday.
“Silvio had an ongoing struggle with addiction and depression, but through it all, he always found a way to turn his struggle into laughter,” the statement said. “He was a kind and beautiful man. He may be gone but his light will shine on.”
Starring America Ferrera, “Ugly Betty” followed the adventures of Betty Suarez, a cheerful and fashion-challenged young Mexican-American woman from Queens who lands a job as an assistant at a fashion magazine in Manhattan. A writer and producer, Mr. Horta adapted the comedy-drama from the wildly popular Colombian telenovela “Yo Soy Betty La Fea,” which led to remakes around the world.
The ABC series became a ratings hit and a critical darling early on, winning a Golden Globe for best comedy series in its first season; Ms. Ferrera won one for best actress in a television series comedy or musical. The show also starred Eric Mabius, Tony Plana, Ana Ortiz, Becki Newton, Michael Urie and Vanessa Williams. “Ugly Betty” ran for 85 episodes from 2006 to 2010, when it was canceled.
Mr. Horta, a first generation Cuban-American, was born Aug. 14, 1974, in Miami. He grew up watching Spanish-language soap operas, which were must-see TV in traditional Hispanic households.
“We had one television growing up, and my mom would be watching telenovelas every night,” Mr. Horta told The New York Times in 2006. “We had no choice. All my friends, first-generation immigrants, would make fun of them, and then become completely addicted.”
Mr. Horta graduated from Coral Gables Senior High School in 1992, the school said. He then studied film and television at New York University, where he graduated in 1995, according to the university.
In 1998, he broke out with his screenplay for the slasher film “Urban Legend,” which starred Jared Leto and Alicia Witt. In the early 2000s, Mr. Horta was also known for writing the former science fiction television series “The Chronicle” and for creating another series, “Jake 2.0,” which starred Christopher Gorham.
Mr. Horta’s most recent producing and writing credit was a 2015 movie on NBC, “The Curse of the Fuentes Women.”
“His talent and creativity brought me and so many others such joy & light,” Ms. Ferrera posted Tuesday on Instagram. “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.”
Mr. Gorham, who also appeared on “Ugly Betty,” shared a tribute on Instagram.
“Silvio Horta gave me two of the greatest opportunities in my career with Jake 2.0 and Ugly Betty,” Mr. Gorham posted. “I will be forever grateful for his creativity, his enormous heart, and his friendship.”
The family’s statement said a service would be held in Miami and another would be announced in Los Angeles.
Sandra E. Garcia contributed reporting.