“Hello to everyone who has shown concern for me and sent their good wishes. You will never know how much it means to me,” Simmons said in a statement on his official Facebook page, marking the first time he’s addressed his fans since his stay in the hospital.
“Aren’t you sick of hearing and reading about me?!” he added. “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.”
The fitness guru hasn’t been seen in public since 2014, though TMZ reports he’s been out and about in Los Angeles wearing various “disguises” and using a cane. On Monday, he decided to get checked out at the hospital after having stomach issues, his manager told People.
“This has reminded me that when you need help you can’t be afraid to reach out and ask for it. We all think we should always be able to solve our problems all by ourselves and sometimes it’s just bigger than we are,” Simmons said in the statement. “I reached out and I hope you will too. 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. Just knowing you care has already made me feel better. Hope to see you again soon!”
The 68-year-old has become a hot topic in the news cycle as of late. Various reports surfaced online, suggesting Simmons was being held hostage in his own home. This year, a podcast called “Missing Richard Simmons” aimed to explore the fitness star’s disappearance from the public eye, keeping interest in Simmons (and his well-being) alive.
Simmons dispelled the rumors in an interview with Entertainment Tonight last year.
“I am not kidnapped,” he said. “I am just in my house right now. No one should be worried about me. The people that surround me are wonderful people who take great care of me.”
He also shared a post on Facebook at the time:
In March of this year, the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed Simmons is “perfectly fine” after visiting his home.
In fact, after it was reported that Simmons signed a deal for licensing, merchandising and endorsement opportunities with Prominent Brand + Talent agency, his manager said a return to the spotlight for the star is “possible.”
Only time will tell.