It’s the end of an era in the world of fitness.
In a statement to Entertainment Tonight, 68-year-old Simmons bid farewell to his gym, and thanked all of his fans for their support and love.
“In 1974 I opened Slimmons as a way to help people make positive changes in their lives by having fun while exercising,” Simmons wrote. “It was a place to make friends, listen to and learn from others, lose weight and gain confidence. These were all the reasons I went to Slimmons too!”
“Over the years thousands came to laugh and sweat with me,” he continued. “The world and what we know about nutrition and fitness may have changed a lot since then, but the lessons shared in that little studio still apply. I’ve dedicated my life to helping others feel better about themselves and they helped me to do the same. Thank you for always supporting and loving me. I will take the time for myself to be the best I can be and so should you. I love you — always keep sweatin’!”
Simmons hadn’t led a class at Slimmons in over two years, said his longtime manager, Michael Catalano.
“Slimmons was truly a reflection of all things Richard — one-of-a-kind, authentic, inspiring,” Catalano told ET. “While the studio is closing, Richard is so happy about the great friendships and lasting memories that were created there over the years.”
Simmons, who’d been out of the spotlight for some time, made headlines in March after giving a bizarre interview on the Today show. Many friends were concerned about his “gaunt” appearance.
“No one is holding me in my house as a hostage,” Simmons told Today host Savannah Guthrieduring the interview. “You know, I do what I want to do as I’ve always done, so people should just believe what I have to say because I’m Richard Simmons!”
He was admitted to hospital in June for a brief period of time, but emerged his old self.
“Thank you to everyone who has reached out with love and concern after hearing I was in the hospital. I was dehydrated and needed some fluids and now I am feeling great!” he said at the time. “Big hugs and kisses for caring.”
Simmons has largely stayed out of the limelight since a 2014 knee injury, and says it was his decision to withdraw from public life.
“I just wanted to be a little bit of a loner for a little while,” Simmons said earlier this year. “You know, I had hurt my knee, and I had some problems with it, and then the other knee started giving me trouble because I’ve taught like thousands and thousands of classes, and you know right now I just want to take care of me.”