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A friend of Silvio Horta (pictured) has penned a lengthy and powerful account of the TV showrunner’s battles with addiction. Andy Maher, who’d known Horta since 2010, wrote the piece for the Advocate.
Maher not only wanted to share memories of the talented man he knew but also to alert other gay men to the dangers of meth.
Horta, who created the hit TV show Ugly Betty, took his own life earlier this month.
Maher says he and Horta hit it off immediately after a mutual friend introduced them on a skiing vacation. They became good friends and began working together, coming up with ideas and stories to pitch to networks.
Maher knew that Horta had had problems with alcohol and drugs, but it was around a year into their friendship that Horta revealed he was addicted to meth.
Maher says until this point, he knew little about the drug.
“I learned that meth is certainly not a drug just for people in trailer parks. It is incredibly prevalent in all parts of society, and particularly in gay culture. Statistically, gay men are four times more likely than straight men to try it.
“It is also one of the most addictive single substances known to man, if not the most addictive. People can become addicted after a single dose, and once people form a dependency, the chances for recovery are shockingly low.”
Horta would go absent for periods of time, impacting on his ability to meet work deadlines. Friends and family staged an intervention and Horta subsequently went into rehab for 30 days.
Once he returned, he appeared committed to staying clean. He and Maher began working on a new project, which developed into The Curse of the Fuentes Women, which was picked by NBC.
However, as the pressure began to build to deliver the show, Horta relapsed, throwing the whole project into jeopardy.
“Our relationship did begin to stray after that experience,” recalls Maher. “I realized I wouldn’t be able to count on him much longer. After a few more projects, we amicably separated the business part of our relationship.”
“But we never stopped being friends. His struggles continued … in and out of rehab. Binge, recover. Binge, recover. Binge even longer, recover for weeks. A vicious cycle I’d already witnessed up close and personal too many times.”
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A few months later, Maher says Horta became frantic. He told Maher he’d developed a condition known as ‘anhedonia’: a total inability to experience joy or pleasure. It’s a condition noted to affect long-term meth users. Horta told Maher he’d been contemplating suicide, to the point of researching methods.
Maher says Horta eventually decided to leave Los Angeles to go live with his mum and sister in Miami, so they could watch over him. Before he left LA, he gave away a lot of his possessions to friends – a gesture that concerned Maher.
“When he hugged me goodbye, he told me it might be the last time we ever saw each other. I genuinely thought that was ludicrous and told him so. ‘Just go to Miami, stay with your mom, heal, take the time, and I’ll see you soon.’”
However, he says that whenever they texted or spoke after that, Horta was depressed and said his brain was not getting any better.
On January, 7, Horta’s sister, Hilda, contacted Maher to tell him her brother was missing.
“I was on Facetime with Hilda and Mama H [Horta’s mom] when they found them: a stack of letters, each addressed to his family and his closest friends. And one to me. Suicide notes. In that instant, Mama H started wailing a deep, violent, agonized scream. I never want to hear anything like that again for as long as I live.”
Through tracing his credit card, Horta was later tracked down to a nearby hotel. He had taken his own life.
Horta’s story should serve as a wake-up call to anyone who dabbles with meth or who is concerned about their drug use. His passing has left his family and friends devastated. Maher misses his friend greatly and is plagued with wondering if there was anything more he could have done to save him.
H/T: The Advocate