70-year-old actor Paul Reubens, the man behind the bizarre and immensely popular Pee-Wee series has passed away after a private battle with cancer, according to multiple reports.
"Please accept my apology for not going public with what I've been facing the last six years," wrote Reubens in a statement posted to Instagram after his death. "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."
Reubens has kept his cancer diagnosis out of the public eye, preferring not to burden his fans with the battle and maintain privacy, much like comedian Norm MacDonald whose death took everyone by surprise after he maintained his medical privacy as well.
Paul Reubens was an actor and comedian who hit it big when he began performing as the quirky character Pee-Wee Herman in 1980, before making the hilarious film Pee-Wee's Big Adventure in 1985, followed by the show Pee-Wee's Playhouse that ran until the end of the 80s.
Reuben's lost his wholesome image after an arrest for indecency at an adult film theater in the early '90s, but rebuilt his brand and eventually reprised the character of Pee-Wee in the 2010s, as well as playing other characters on TV shows as a comedic actor.