'Ugly Betty' Creator Silvio Horta Battled Addiction, Depression ... Family Talks About Suicide

"Ugly Betty" creator Silvio Horta, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, struggled with addiction and depression ... according to his family.

Horta's mother, Ana, and sister, Hilda, tell TMZ ... Silvio, who was found dead Tuesday in a Miami hotel room ... had an ongoing struggle with addiction and depression, "but through it all he always found a way to turn his struggle into laughter."

They add, "Through his friendships, his love and his work in TV and films, Silvio touched the lives of millions." They went on to say, "He was a kind and beautiful man. He may be gone but his light will shine on."

There will be a memorial service held in Miami for the 45-year-old writer and producer -- and the family says they'll also hold one in L.A. at a later date.

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Silvio served as showrunner and head writer on ABC's "Ugly Betty" starring America Ferrera. He was nominated for an Emmy in 2007 and won the Writers Guild Award for Best New Series the same year.

Horta's Hollywood career took off after he wrote the screenplay for the 1998 horror flick, "Urban Legend." He was working with Mary J. Blige on a musical dramedy called “Move” before he died.

Writer: 'Ugly Betty' Jacked My Idea

"Ugly Betty" just went off the air and now a writer/director is claiming the show's producers, including ABC and Touchstone, ripped off her idea -- this according to a federal lawsuit.

In the court documents, filed today in federal court in Los Angeles, Azita Zendel says she wrote a screenplay which became the movie "Controlled Chaos" -- and that several episodes of 'Betty' are similar to her movie.

According to the docs, Zendel claims the producers of 'Betty' got their hands on her project because she submitted it to them for a possible distribution deal -- but instead they allegedly used it without compensating her.

In case you never saw (or even heard of) "Controlled Chaos" -- imdb.com says it's about an assistant who has to cover up a film director's scandalous lifestyle.

Zendel is suing for unspecified damages.

Paula Abdul Easy As ABC

Paula Abdul isn't missing a beat. Our spies say she spent part of the afternoon yesterday with ABC entertainment honcho Steve McPherson.

We're told Stevie M. wants Paula to be a contestant on "Dancing With the Stars" in the worst way. We're told there was talk of making her a guest judge but that's not gonna happen, and we know why. Paula and Carrie Ann Inaba don't get along.

But McPherson, who's friends with Paula, wants more from her than "Dancing." There's talk of Paula doing a guest appearance on "Ugly Betty." And we're told Paula has a show in mind with her name on it.

As for that other show ... "American Idol" we think it's called ... Paula is not shutting the door. $10 million, and she's theirs.

Stay tuned...

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