Paul Reubens’ official cause of death has been announced.
Late actor Pee-wee Herman’s death certificate obtained by People On Friday, September 8, it was reported that Reubens died of acute hypoxic respiratory failure. The condition occurs when there is not enough oxygen or too much carbon dioxide in the body, which can be caused by many underlying diseases The Cleveland Clinic.
The certificate also states that Reubens was also battling two types of cancer: acute myeloid leukemia and metastatic lung cancer. Acute myeloid leukemia is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow Mayo Clinic. Cancer Research UK defines metastatic lung cancer as an advanced type of cancer that has spread from its site of origin to the lung.
Reubens died in July at the age of 70. His death was confirmed through a statement on his Pee-wee Herman Instagram page.
“Last night we said goodbye to Paul Reubens, a legendary 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 “ says the message. “Paul bravely and privately battled cancer for years, with his trademark tenacity and wit. A gifted and prolific talent, he will live forever in the comedy pantheon and in our hearts as a treasured friend and man of remarkable character and generosity.”
The post also included a heartfelt message from the late actor apologizing for wanting to keep his cancer diagnosis to himself.
“Please accept my apology for not publicly stating what I have experienced over the last six years,” Reubens said. “I have always felt great love and respect from my friends, fans and supporters. I loved you all so much and I enjoyed making art for you.”
In addition to his sentiments, Reubens’ final wish was that “condolences” be made to Stand Up to Cancer or another dementia or Alzheimer’s organization in honor of his late parents.
Reubens created his iconic character while a member of the Los Angeles improv troupe The Groundlings in the 1980s. He brought the childlike alter ego to life on stage before his big break on screen Pee-wee’s big adventure in 1985. He further brought the character to life with his 1986 children’s television show Pee-wee’s Playhouse for five seasons.
Despite the show’s end, Reubens did not give up his role. Over the years, he brought Herman back to the stage and big screen for a 2011 Broadway appearance and the 2016 film Pee-wee’s big holiday.