Richard Simmons Thanks Fans For ‘Kindness & Love’ After New Doc About His Disappearance

Following a TMZ documentary about Richard Simmons' retreat from public life, the fitness icon made a rare statement, giving thanks for the 'continuous outpouring of love' from his fans.

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Image Credit: Jason Szenes/EPA/Shutterstock

Richard Simmons is “eternally grateful for the continuous outpouring of love and gratitude he has received from across the globe,” according to a statement given to the New York Post by his rep, Tom Estey. The message came after Fox aired TMZ Investigates: What Really Happened To Richard Simmons. Estey told the Post that Richard, 74, is “happy, healthy, and living the life he has chosen to live.” The statement also comes after the Sweatin’ To The Oldies star made his first public communication in six years.

“Thank you, everyone, for your kindness and love!” Richard posted to his official Facebook page on Aug. 24. Simmons’s rep confirmed that the message was written by the ’80s icon, which was signed with a simple message. “Love, Richard.”

Simmons retreated from public life in 2014. According to the documentary, this reclusiveness came from a painful knee operation. “Doctors told him back in 2014…that he needed a left knee replacement,” the doc claims, per Fox. “And if he didn’t get one, he might never be able to exercise again. Now, this is key to the disappearance of Richard Simmons. The prospect of surgery, of becoming sedentary, caused Richard to sink into a deep depression.” Simmons reportedly underwent surgery to replace his right knee in 2014, and the operation and recovery were so painful, he seemingly opted to not have the other one done.”

“We know still to this day Richard still hasn’t gotten corrective surgery on his left knee,” the doc alleges. He walks with a cane and that explains a lot. He’s just not the same guy anymore.”

Richard Simmons arrives for the MTV Video Music Awards at the Barclays Center in 2013 (Jason Szenes/EPA/Shutterstock)

Richards Simmons was also the focus of a podcast series titled Missing Richard Simmons, and in 2017, he issued a statement to People. “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,” he said (two days before, he was hospitalized with indigestion.)

“I’m sure I will be feeling good and back home in a couple of days,” the statement continued. “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.”

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