Over a month after the death of actor Paul Reubens, known for his iconic role as Pee-wee Herman, the official cause of his death has been disclosed.
According to the death certificate obtained by People magazine, Reubens succumbed to acute hypoxic respiratory failure.
It was only after his death that the public learned Reubens had been battling cancer for several years.
The certificate confirmed that he had been living with two types of cancer: acute myelogenous leukemia and metastatic lung cancer. Acute myelogenous leukemia was cited as the sequential underlying cause of his death.
Reubens passed away on July 30 at the age of 70. In a posthumous statement shared on his social media accounts, he apologized for not going public about his health struggles.
"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 statement read.
A caption accompanying the post paid tribute to Reubens, describing him as an "iconic American actor, comedian, writer, and producer" whose character Pee-wee Herman had delighted generations. "Paul bravely and privately fought cancer for years with his trademark tenacity and wit," it said, adding that he would forever live in the comedy pantheon and in people's hearts as a man of remarkable character and generosity of spirit.
The revelation of Reubens' long-standing battle with cancer and the official cause of his death adds another layer to the legacy of a man who brought joy to countless individuals through his art and comedy.