Paul Reubens, best known for portraying the iconic character Pee-wee Herman in TV shows, movies and on Broadway, was battling acute myelogenous leukemia, a form of blood cancer, and metastatic lung cancer when he died in June, according to his death certificate.
The Blast was the first to report Friday on the death certificate, which revealed Ruebens died June 30 of “acute hypoxic respiratory failure,” which occurs when a person doesn’t have enough oxygen in the tissues in their body.
Paul Reubens Dies: Pee-wee Herman Actor Was 70
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Ruebens’ death came as a surprise to many as the actor had kept his cancer fight private for six years.
“Please accept my apology for not going public with what I’ve been facing the last six years,” he wrote in an Instagram message posted the day of his death. “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.”
The post’s caption, written by his estate, reads: “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.”
According to the death certificate, Reubens was to be cremated and buried at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
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