Paul Reubens, Pee-wee Herman Actor, Cause of Death Revealed

Fan-favorite comedian Paul Reubens of Pee-wee Herman fame, died from cancer complications

Just five weeks since Paul Reubens died, the actual cause of death for the Pee-wee Herman actor has been confirmed. It was previously reported at the time of Paul Reubens' death that he had been battling cancer in secret, and his death certificate confirms that complications from this lead to his passing. People brings word that Reubens' official cause of death was "acute hypoxic respiratory failure," with a sequential underlying cause of his death being "acute myelogenous leukemia," one of two forms of cancer that Reubens has been diagnosed with. In addition, Paul Reubens had also been diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer at the time of his death.

In a statement released after this death, Reubens wrote about how he kept his medical issues a secret from fans, writing: ""Please accept my apology for not going public with what I've been facing the last six years," Reubens wrote. "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."

Following news of Reubens' death, well wishes, condolences, and countless stories about him began to pour in from friends, collaborators, and fans. Filmmaker Tim Burton, who directed Pee-wee's Big Adventure as his feature film debut, wrote the following in an Instagram post: "Shocked and saddened. I'll never forget how Paul helped me at the beginning of my career. It would not have happened without his support. He was a great artist. I'll miss him." Fans of the Pee-wee Herman character also left tributes at the home in California that served as the exterior location for his house in the 1985 movie.

Paul Reubens first began playing the Pee-wee character on the stage, creating him with The Groundlings as a one-off gag for an event. The Pee-wee Herman Show would go on to become its own stage production, becoming so popular that Reubens would appear in character on The Late Show With David Letterman and then have The Pee-wee Herman Show filmed and broadcast on HBO. Reubens would even bring his Pee-wee character to The Dating Game multiple times. 

After moving to the stage full time, Reubens would finally bring Pee-wee Herman to the big screen when Warner Bros. Pictures wanted to develop a Pee-wee movie. 1985's Pee-wee's Big Adventure became an immediate hit and remains a fan-favorite to this day. The feature film would pave the way for Pee-wee's Playhouse which debuted in 1986 and would run for five seasons on CBS. Another feature film, Big Top Pee-wee, was released in 1988. 

Reubens didn't appear as the character again for decades after he found himself at the center of controversy when he was arrested, appearing only in minor roles or only providing voice work for many years. The actor's casting in the 1999 movie Mystery Men would bring him back to the public eye for the first time in years, and even saw him doing his first interviews out of character on television. He continued to act after this but in 2010 revived The Pee-wee Herman Show on Broadway, which in turn lead to another feature film, Pee-wee's Big Holiday on Netflix.

Paul Reubens would've turned 71 on August 27th.