Paul Reubens’ cause of death has been revealed months following his death in July.
The late actor died from acute hypoxic respiratory failure, according to his death certificate, which The Hollywood Reporter has obtained. The condition happens when the respiratory system cannot adequately provide oxygen to the body.
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Reubens, the man behind the iconic character Pee-wee Herman, died in Los Angeles at the age of 70. He had also been battling two types of cancer for several years prior to his death, his rep said.
“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,” a statement read at the time of his death. “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.”
In 1978, Reubens created Pee-wee while performing with the Los Angeles comedy troupe The Groundlings. He later took his performance on a 22-city tour of the U.S. as well as had it featured on an HBO special. From there, he went on to play the character in several projects for the big screen, including Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985) and Randal Kleiser’s Big Top Pee-wee (1988).
The actor landed his own CBS Saturday morning children’s program, Pee-wee’s Playhouse, which ran for five seasons from 1986-91. The show also scored two Emmy Awards.
Apart from Pee-wee, Reubens also had roles in Batman Returns, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dunston Checks In, Mystery Men, Blow, Life During Wartime and more.
Throughout his career, Reubens was also met with controversies. In July 1991, he was arrested for indecent exposure in an adult theater in Sarasota, Florida. He pleaded no contest to the charges and did 75 hours of community service.
Then, in 2002, he was charged in Los Angeles with misdemeanor possession of obscene material improperly depicting a child under the age of 18 in sexual conduct. The charges were eventually dropped, and he said that he was a collector of erotica.
Nearly a decade later, Reubens reprised his quirky character in 2010 in an updated revival of The Pee-wee Herman Show in Los Angeles and then on Broadway. He also produced a third Pee-wee film, Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, with Judd Apatow in 2015 for Netflix.
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