MILAN • The family of Italian designer Gianni Versace has distanced itself from a long-awaited American television series about his violent death.
The nine-part FX series, produced by Ryan Murphy and premiering on Jan 17, stars Spanish actress Penelope Cruz and Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin.
Versace was gunned down in 1997 at the entrance gate of his Miami beach mansion by serial killer Andrew Cunanan.
The Versace company "did not authorise and was not involved in the television series", it said in a statement on Monday.
The series had to be considered "an act of fiction", it said, given that it drew inspiration from a book that was not authorised, Maureen Orth's Vulgar Favours.
Edgar Ramirez plays Versace in the series, The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, while Martin plays his boyfriend and Cruz plays Versace's sister Donatella.
A spokesman for 21st Century Fox, which the FX network is part of, had no immediate comment.
Gianni Versace founded his eponymous fashion house in 1978. In 2014, American private equity firm Blackstone bought a 20 per cent stake. Donatella Versace is now artistic director and vice-president of the group.