Isabel Torres, the actress known for her starring role in HBO Max’s Veneno, died on February 11. She was 52. Her family confirmed the news in a Spanish statement posted on her Instagram account. “Although her family and friends deeply feel her loss, we know that wherever she goes she will have fun as only she knows how,” the statement read. “Thank you for all the messages of affection and concern. She has left feeling very loved and protected.”
Born in 1969 in Gran Canaria, Spain, Torres was a transgender pioneer on her native island. She became the first Canarian woman to legally change her name and gender in 1996. Though she gained recognition as a television and radio host, her career skyrocketed after she took her first scripted TV role on the 2020 series Veneno. She played the oldest of three versions of Cristina Ortiz Rodríguez, the Spanish star and trans icon who was better known as “La Veneno.” For her performance in the eight-episode show, Torres won Best Female Actress in National Fiction at the Ondas Awards.
Torres battled metastatic lung cancer for multiple years before her death. She was reportedly first diagnosed in 2018, and in November 2021 told her Instagram followers that she was posting her last video. She explained in Spanish that she had been informed she only had two months left to live. “Let’s see if I get over it,” she said at the time, according to Out. “If not, what are we going to do? Life is like that.” Following the news of her death, several people who worked with Torres on Veneno took to social media to pay tribute. “Thank you for living, thank you for everything,” her co-star JEDET wrote in Spanish. “My heart is broken. I love you.”