Children’s TV star Paul Reubens, better known as the beloved Pee-wee Herman, has passed away at the age of 70.
“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,” according to a statement posted to his Facebook.
“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.”
It had not been previously disclosed that the beloved actor had been battling with cancer. In a heart-warming and emotional personal statement left behind by the actor he explained his decision to keep private about his battle.
“Please accept my apology for not going public with what I’ve been facing the last six years,” he 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.”
Reuben created one of the most recognizable TV persona, Pee-wee Herman, sarcastic but good-natured man-child who took the 80s and 90s by storm with his wit and iconic sayings. TV host Jimmy Kimmel spoke out about the tragic loss of Reuben.
“Paul Reubens was like no one else — a brilliant and original comedian who made kids and their parents laugh at the same time,” late night comedian Jimmy Kimmel said in a statement.
“He never forgot a birthday and shared his genuine delight for silliness with everyone he met. My family and I will miss him.”
Kimmel was not the only Hollywood star to honor the late great character. Cher, Natasha Lyonne and Judd Apatow all wished Reuben a peaceful rest in the afterlife while celebrating his memory.