Paul Reubens‘ cause of death has officially been declared after his death shocked many around the world. The Pee-Wee Herman character actor died at the age of 70 on July 30, 2023, of acute myelogenous leukemia, as reported by The Blast on Sept. 8. The cancer is known as a type of illness that affects the blood and bone marrow, per the National Cancer Institute. The death certificate also reportedly revealed that he died due to “acute hypoxic respiratory failure.” Paul also battled metastatic lung cancer.
Paul’s cause of death new comes just over one month after his unexpected passing left many of his fans heartbroken. Since he went through a private cancer battle for years, it was not publicly known that he was sick, so when the announcement of his death happened on July 31, 2023, an outpouring of love and grief started making the rounds on social media. From fellow celebrities to fans of his longtime Pee-Wee Herman character, there was no shortage of messages left by people.
Natasha Lyonne, who played the character of Opal on Pee-Wee’s Play House, took to Twitter to share photos and a loving caption. “Love you so much, Paul,” she wrote. “One in all time. Thank you for my career & your forever friendship all these years & for teaching us what a true original is.”
Cheech Marin also gave a statement to HollywoodLife. “Paul was one of the funniest actors I knew and a great friend,” he said. “He was an indelible character in our movies and will be so missed.” As Cheech noted, Paul had notable appearances in Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie and Nice Dreams.
Other stars who gave Paul a loving shout-out included Laraine Newman, Cassandra Peterson, Cher, Steve Martin, Jennifer Tilly, David Hasselhoff, Jimmy Kimmel, and more. They all reminisced on time they spent with Paul and/or the impact he made on children’s television. Some also shared clips and photos they had of the memorable moments they shared.
Paul played the famous character of Pee-Wee Herman throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Pee-Wee’s Playhouse premiered in 1986 and became one of the most popular children’s entertainment on all of television. In addition to sharing the announcement of his passing, the people who ran his Facebook page, shared a personal message from him that expressed gratitude and apologized to his fans for being private about his cancer battle.
“Please accept my apology for not going public with what I’ve been facing the last six years,” his message read. “I have always felt a huge amount of love and respect for my friends fans and supporters. I have loved you all so much and enjoyed making art for you.”