On Friday, Isabel Torres, a Spanish actress best known for playing the transgender singer and television personality Cristina Ortiz Rodríguez died. She was just 52.
The family of Torres confirmed the news to fans via a post on Instagram.
“Although her family and friends feel her loss deeply, we know that wherever she goes, she will have fun as only she knows how,” the post reads in English. “Thank you for all the messages of affection and concern. She has left feeling very loved and supported.”
Torres is remembered as a trans pioneer among Gran Canaria where she championed for LGBTQ+ rights and conversations. In 1996, she became the first Canarian woman to have her gender legally changed on her ID.
Torres rose to fame in 2020 with her role as the Spanish TV celebrity Cristina Ortiz, also known as La Veneno in the HBO Max limited series Veneno.
However, shortly after the show premiered, Torres announced on her Instagram that she was battling lung cancer. In November, Torres posted a goodbye to her fans and friends in a a heartfelt video.
“They give me two months to live,” she explains regarding her cancer diagnosis. “Let’s see if I get over it, and if not, what are we going to do? Life is like that.”
Co-writer and series creator Javier Calvo shared paid tribute to the Torres on Instagram.
“I love you, I respect you, I admire you and I will miss you so much,” he wrote in Spanish. “Thank you for everything you have given us. Your Pedro Marín, as you called me every morning of filming, feels privileged to have met you.”
Calvo and Javier Ambrossi, created the series and consciously chose to cast a trans actor to portray Ortiz. In 2020, Ambrossi spoke with Variety and explained why it was important to feature a LGBTQ+ talent.
“If you want to create the stories about the LGBT community, you have to do it with LGBT people,” Ambrossi said at the time. “That’s important because these are our stories and no one can tell them like we can.”Subscribe to Drag Society today for all your “drag must-haves” featuring celebrity drag queens and exclusive merch.