Paul Reubens, famous for creating and playing the kind-hearted man-child Pee-wee Herman, died in late July 2023. Pee-wee Herman, in a red bow tie, flattop haircut, and gray suit, delivered signature catchphrases in a squeaky, high-pitched voice. “Last night we said farewell to Paul Reubens… 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 on Paul’s Facebook page read. 

Pee-wee Herman secretly battled cancer for six years

Paul Reubens died following a secret, six-year cancer battle. “Paul bravely and privately fought cancer for years with his trademark tenacity and wit,” the Facebook statement read

In a personal statement, Paul apologized for hiding his diagnosis. He wrote: “Please accept my apology for not going public with what I’ve been facing the last six years. 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.”

Paul was diagnosed in 2017 and continued acting for a few years before seemingly retiring to fight the disease. After his diagnosis, he appeared in Gotham, Mosaic, The Conners, and What We Do in the Shadows. He also voiced roles in Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero, Voltron: Legendary Defender, and Legends of Tomorrow.