Pee-wee Herman actor Paul Reubens official cause of death revealed over month after his death

More than a month since Paul Reubens, the actor who played Pee-wee Herman, died at the age of 70, his cause of death has been confirmed.

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Reubens’ cause of death was listed on his death certificate obtained by People magazine as acute hypoxic respiratory failure.

Acute hypoxic respiratory failure happens when your lungs are unable to release enough oxygen into your blood, according to Healthline per People magazine. This prevents your organs from working properly. It also happens when your lungs are unable to remove carbon dioxide that is in your blood.

There are two kinds of acute hypoxic respiratory failure -- acute and chronic, according to WebMD.

At the time of his death, Reubens had two forms of cancer. According to the Los Angeles Times, Reubens had acute myelogenous leukemia, He also reportedly had been diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer.

Acute myelogenous leukemia is a cancer that is found in bone marrow and makes a large amount of abnormal blood cells, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Reubens died on July 30.

In a statement posted on his official Instagram page, Reubens shared an apology for not going public with the health struggles he’s faced in the last several years. In the post, his representatives said he had been battling cancer.

“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 caption on the statement read.

“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.”

Reubens launched his comedy career in the ‘70s after joining The Groundlings, a live comedy trouble based in Los Angeles, Variety reported. It was while he was with the group that he created the character of Pee-wee Herman during a 1978 improv exercise, according to SFGate. He made all his public appearances in character from the release of the movie “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” in 1985 through the end of his children’s show “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” in 1991, the news site reported.

Over the course of his career, Reubens appeared in more than 100 television shows, movies and shorts, with his most recent work seen in 2021, according to IMDb.