Fitness legend Richard Simmons has vanished from the public eye in recent years, and the podcast "Missing Richard Simmons" sent fans into a frenzy wondering what happened to him. But now, Simmons has issued a rare public statement insisting that he's just fine, despite a recent hospitalization.
Simmons went to the hospital on Monday after dealing with stomach problems, but says he is doing well and will be back home soon. (Previously, he had been dealing with a knee injury.) He issued a statement to People clearing the air about his health, and that statement was the first time he had spoken directly to fans since 2013. He said:
Hello to everyone who has shown concern for me and sent their good wishes. You will never know how much it means to me. Aren't you sick of hearing and reading about me?! LOL. Well by now, you know that I'm not 'missing,' just a little under the weather. I'm sure I will be feeling good and back home in a couple of days.
He also said that all the attention and concern from fans has boosted him and has made him feel better. "This has reminded me that when you need help, you can't be afraid to reach out and ask for it. […] I'm sure there are people in your life who love and care for you and would do anything to help you with the challenges you face," he wrote. "Just knowing you care has already made me feel better. Hope to see you again soon!"
A next step for Simmons could be a licensing deal, which he signed recently, paving the way for endorsement deals and merchandising. But ultimately, his rep says he just wants to take some time for himself after dedicating his life to helping others. (And according to an unverified but fun report by TMZ, he goes out on the town wearing a hat and normal clothes and using a cane, and nobody recognizes him without his sparkly outfits.)