Paul Reubens, the acclaimed actor best known for his iconic character Pee-wee Herman, passed away at the age of 70. The cause of his death was revealed to be acute hypoxic respiratory failure, a medical condition that occurs when the lungs fail to provide enough oxygen to the blood or remove carbon dioxide, impairing the function of the body’s organs.
Unbeknownst to the public, Reubens was privately battling two forms of cancer at the time of his death. His primary diagnosis was acute myelogenous leukemia, a cancer that affects the blood cells and bone marrow, which was identified as a sequential underlying cause of his death. Additionally, Reubens was also dealing with metastatic lung cancer, a condition that can spread to the other lung or other parts of the body.
Reubens passed away on July 30, having kept his cancer diagnosis private for several years. According to his representative, Reubens had been bravely and privately fighting cancer for years, displaying his characteristic resilience and humor. The representative lauded Reubens as a talented and prolific actor, stating that he will forever be remembered in the comedy world and in their hearts as a cherished friend and a man of remarkable character and generosity of spirit.
Following his death, a message from Reubens was shared on his official Instagram account. In the message, Reubens apologized for not publicly disclosing his health struggles over the past six years. He expressed his deep love and respect for his friends, fans, and supporters, and his enjoyment in creating art for them.
Reubens’ rise to fame came after landing the role of Pee-wee Herman in the Tim Burton-directed movie “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” in 1985. The film’s success led to his character’s own Saturday morning CBS show, “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” which aired from 1986 to 1991. The show won 15 Emmy awards during its run, and Reubens himself was nominated for three Emmys.