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Paul Reubens, actor and comedian who created Pee-wee Herman, dead at 70

Paul Reubens, the actor and comedian best known for playing the eccentric character Pee-wee Herman, is dead at age 70, a representative confirmed to CBC News.

Reubens died years after being diagnosed with cancer, a fact he hadn’t made public, according to a statement from the representative that was also shared on the performer’s social media.

“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,” the statement read.

Reubens, in character as Pee-wee Herman, poses on stage after a performance of The Pee-wee Herman Show on Broadway in New York on Oct. 29, 2010. (Charles Sykes/The Associated Press)

Reubens’ representatives also shared a statement that the actor wrote before his death.

“Please accept my apology for not going public with what I’ve been facing the last six years,” Reubens wrote. “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 Pee-wee Herman character, with his too-tight gray suit, white chunky loafers and red bow tie, was best known for the 1985 film Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and the TV series Pee-wee’s Playhouse.

Reubens created Pee-wee when he was part of the Los Angeles improv group The Groundlings in the late 1970s. The live Pee-wee Herman Show debuted at a Los Angeles theatre in 1981 and was a success with both kids during matinees and adults at a midnight show. HBO would air the show as a special.

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