Paul Reubens, the actor known for his iconic character Pee-wee Herman, has died at the age of 70 after a private battle with cancer.
Reubens had kept his cancer diagnosis private for the past six years. In a statement posted to Instagram after his death, he apologized for not sharing his diagnosis with the public.
“I have always felt a huge amount of love and respect from my friends, fans and supporters,” Reubens wrote. “I have loved you all so much and enjoyed making art for you.”
Reubens’ estate also released a statement, in which they described him as “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.”
Reubens began his career in the 1970s after joining the Los Angeles live comedy troupe the Groundlings. In 1980, he launched “The Pee-wee Herman Show,” a stage production centered on a fictional character he had been developing for years. The show was a critical and commercial success, and Reubens went on to star in two feature films based on the character: “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” (1985) and “Big Top Pee-wee” (1988).
Reubens also had a successful television career, starring in the sitcom “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” (1986-1991) and appearing in numerous other shows, including “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” “Saturday Night Live” and “The Simpsons.”
Reubens was a gifted and prolific talent, and his death is a great loss to the comedy world. He will be remembered for his iconic character Pee-wee Herman, as well as his many other roles on stage, film, and television.