TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Paul Reubens, known for his role in the Pee-wee Herman show and films, has died at age 70, according to posts on the Pee-wee Herman social media pages.

You can read the full text of the announcement below:

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. 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.

Announcement posted to Pee-wee Herman social media pages

Reubens had not previously disclosed his battle with cancer. The announcement of his death included a statement from the actor.

“Please accept my apology for not going public with what I’ve been facing for the past six years,” Reubens said. “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.”

According to the social media posts, Reubens asked fans to donate to Stand Up to Cancer or other organizations involved in Alzheimer’s and dementia research on his behalf, in honor of his late parents, who were Sarasota residents.

Reubens was born in New York, but grew up in Sarasota and attended Sarasota High School, according to an article from Sarasota Magazine. During his time in Sarasota, he often visited the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus.

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