The news of Paul Reubens passing at the age of 70 on Monday has left Joe Manganiello in mourning.
The 46-year-old ‘Magic Mike’ star took to Instagram, mere hours after the announcement of Reubens’ death, to pay a heartfelt tribute to his co-star. Manganiello described Reubens as an “artist and a weirdo” who championed fellow artists and oddballs.
“Man… this is tough,” Manganiello began the caption of a series of photos from their Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday media tour in 2016. “It’s so hard to say goodbye when you know you’ll never see someone again who meant so much to you. Someone who believed in you, fought for you, and saw things in you that most people didn’t. Everyone should be so lucky to have a friend like that. Well, I did, and today I have to say goodbye.”
He went on, “Today, the world lost one of the greatest comedic geniuses of all time. Paul was subversive, brilliant, witty, and had the biggest heart on the planet… anyone on his Birthday mailing list will know what I mean… He was a visionary who was so far ahead of his time and had one of the scariest eyes for talent I’ve ever seen.”
Back in 2016, Reubens and Manganiello starred together in the Judd Apatow-produced Netflix movie ‘Pee-wee’s Big Holiday‘, but their friendship extended beyond the screen.
The True Blood alum referred to Reubens as “an icon” who effortlessly portrayed the “lovable underdog” to the world, making it “a much better place because it had him [Reubens] in it.”
“I’m just so glad that I got to be a part of his life and ultimately his comeback. I saw how tirelessly he showed up for people and his work with such joy,” Manganiello said. “I feel lucky that I could always be there for him when he needed me… best friends forever. RIP.”
On Monday, Reubens’ representative confirmed that the actor had passed away after a private battle with 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,” read a statement.
“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’ representative posted the news on Reubens’ Instagram page along with a posthumous personal statement from the star.
“Please accept my apology for not going public with what I’ve been facing the last six years,” the statement read. “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 Reubens.”
The late star’s representative confirmed on Monday that Reubens had written the first draft of his memoir, put the finishing touches on two more Pee-wee movie scripts, and was developing television projects, including a variety show and a western called Fancypants, before his passing.