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Richard Simmons Posts Concerning "I Am Dying" Message—But Later Says He's Fine

The retired fitness guru claims his message was misconstrued and meant to inspire others.

Richard Simmons may no longer love the spotlight, but he sure likes to jibber-jabber with his fans online. The globally-beloved fitness guru retired from public life in 2014, but maintains a lively Facebook page, where he shares throwback workout videos, stories from his childhood, and uplifting messages. But now, alarm bells are ringing after Simmons posted that he was "dying," then later claimed the offhand comment wasn't meant to be taken literally.

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Fans have noticed an uptick in Simmons' online presence ever since news about his biopic broke—which Simmons has made adequately clear he isn't a part of. Despite his noninvolvement, Simmons' once-rare Facebook updates are now almost a daily occurrence. On Jan. 30, the retired star encouraged fans to show themselves some self-love amid his own self-gratitude journey.

"For as long as I can remember, people have made fun of me. And people still to this day make fun of me. But you know what? I am glad to be me!" Simmons wrote, adding, "You should be glad that you are you."

Simmons' cheery, can-do attitude is why he's still so dearly loved by fans. And it explains why his cryptic post about death left so many startled and prompted people to flood his inbox with worried messages and get-well wishes.

"I have some news to tell you. Please don't be sad. I am….dying. Oh I can see your faces now," Simmons began his March 18 Facebook post.

Then, he quickly backpedaled to add: "The truth is we all are dying. Every day we live we are getting closer to our death."

The retired fitness icon went on to suggest a myriad of ways people can prolong their time on Earth and live a more fulfilled life—such as by eating healthier and getting daily exercise. As for what inspired his post, he said "Because I want you to enjoy your life to the fullest every single day. Get up in the morning and look at the sky…count your blessings and enjoy."

Elsewhere, Simmons recommended incorporating physical touch into one's everyday routine, too. "A big hug really goes a long way," he reasoned.

In the 24 hours it's been up, Simmons' post has garnered 16,000 reactions, and more than 1,600 people have commented. Fans are calling Simmons their "angel," and thanking the TV personality for being "a shining light" and "inspiration."

Later Monday evening, Simmons released an apology after receiving an outpouring of concerned messages from fans and personal calls about his health and wellness.

"Sorry many of you have gotten upset about my message today. Even the press has gotten in touch with me. I am not dying," Simmons clarified.

He explained that it was just an expression, or his way of reminding people that tomorrow isn't guaranteed. "It was a message about saying how we should embrace every day that we have. Sorry for this confusion," he said.

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Fans are more than relieved over Simmons' good news. "I had a mini heart attack when I started to read it!" one person commented on his follow-up post.

"DON'T DO THINGS LIKE THAT!! I read it and understood but dear Lord you did scare some of my loved ones who contacted me!" another cried.

Someone else said, "Thank you for the clarification. I understood your message but was still a bit concerned for you."

Simmons' former representative Tom Estey also confirmed Simmons is doing well and that his message was simply misconstrued. "I can confirm with 100 percent certainty that Richard is not dying. He's, in fact, very healthy and happy. The sole purpose of the post was meant to be inspirational," he told the New York Post.

Emily Weaver
Emily is a NYC-based freelance entertainment and lifestyle writer — though, she’ll never pass up the opportunity to talk about women’s health and sports (she thrives during the Olympics). Read more
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