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Paul Reubens Has Died, Cause Of His Death Explained, Beautiful Tributes From Friends & Family

Paul Reubens, best remembered for his portrayal of the irrepressible, joyously childish Pee-wee Herman, sadly died late Sunday night after recently crossing 70. Pee-wee Herman was well-known for his bright red bowtie, gray suit, and flattop haircut. He also used a characteristic squeaky, high-pitched voice to deliver his well-known catchphrases, such as “I know what you are, but what am I?” which made him a household name.

What caused the death of Paul Reubens?

Source: Paul Reubens / Instagram

According to a statement on the actor’s official social media pages, Reubens died on Sunday following a six-year struggle with cancer that he had not publicly announced. A picture posted on his account showed a statement from Reubens prior to his death, addressed to his fans. “Please accept my apology for not going public with what I’ve been facing the last six years. I have always felt a huge amount of love and respect from my friends, fans and supporters. I have loved you all so much and enjoyed making art for you.”

This official post is further captioned: “Last night we said farewell to Paul Reubens, an iconic American actor, comedian, writer and producer whose beloved character Pee-wee Herman delighted generations of children and adults with his positivity, whimsy and belief in the importance of kindness. Paul bravely and privately fought cancer for years with his trademark tenacity and wit. A gifted and prolific talent, he will forever live in the comedy pantheon and in our hearts as a treasured friend and man of remarkable character and generosity of spirit.”

Source: TimeOut via Shutterstock

“Paul Reubens was like no one else – a brilliant and original comedian who made kids and their parents laugh at the same time. He never forgot a birthday and shared his genuine delight for silliness with everyone he met. My family and I will miss him.”

A tribute to Paul Reubens from Jimmy Kimmel

What was Paul’s legacy in TV and film?

Reubens, born Paul Rubenfeld, invented the Pee-wee Herman character with The Groundlings in 1978 and eventually brought the character to the stage. He appeared in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985) and its sequel, Big Top Pee-wee. Reubens was also a regular on the CBS Saturday morning children’s show Pee-wee’s Playhouse. After being arrested for indecent exposure in 1991, he produced, co-wrote, and acted in a 2010 Los Angeles and Broadway production of The Pee-wee Herman Show. In 2015, he produced Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, his third Pee-wee picture.

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty

Reubens has also worked in TV, big screen, and voice acting projects along with many of Tim Burton’s films including Batman Returns. Some of his big screen hits also include Todd Solondz’s Life During Wartime (2009), Dunston Checks In (1996), Mystery Men (1999), and Blow (2001). Family Guy, TRON: Uprising, Smurfs, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Minecraft: Story Mode and Call of Duty are just a few of his achievements in the voice acting arena. Many actors including Burton, Laraine Newman, Conan O’Brien, Dane Cook, Paul Feig, Danny DeVito, Natasha Lyonne, Jimmy Kimmel, Guillermo Del Toro and more offered heartfelt tributes to well-loved actor.