The Real Reason Richard Simmons Disappeared Is Tragic, Where Is He Now?

Often known for his candy-striped bike shorts and iridescent tank tops, Richard Simmons is a fixture in American fitness and pop culture. For more than four decades, the 74-year-old fitness guru and entrepreneur has been featured in TV shows and cookbooks and is, of course, the face behind the world-famous LA gym slimmons.

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But in 2014, Simmons seemed to almost completely disappear. This is a man whose boundless energy, inclusivity, and cheerful personality saved thousands, but who was there to save him in his time of need?

Richard Simmons young wears a striped red shit t-shirt.

Filmmaker Dan Taberski has the “Missing Richard Simmons” Podcast in February 2017. Taberski just wanted to track down his old friend after one day Simmons mysteriously stopped showing up to the training class he taught for over 40 years. Simmons fell off the grid, quit teaching physical education classes and cut off even his closest friends. The podcast explores the theories surrounding Simmons’ disappearance, going as far as talking to the workout guru’s friends and family.

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Simmons was quick to respond to the excitement surrounding the podcast and took the opportunity to reach out to his fan base through his spokesperson persons Magazine. In his statement, Simmons says:

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“Hello to everyone who has been concerned about me and sent their well wishes. You’ll never know how much it means to me. Don’t you get tired of hearing and reading from me?! LOL Well now you know I’m not ‘missing’ just a bit under the weather. I’m sure I’ll be fine and I’ll be home in a few days…”

Richard Simmons stands on a desk with his arms outstretched.

in August 2022, TMZ investigates what really happened to Richard Simmons was released, fueling further speculation about the fitness guru’s disappearance. While the documentary explored some far-flung theories (including one that suggested Simmons was being held hostage by his housekeeper at his Hollywood Hills home), the true explanation was finally revealed. Simmons simply suffered a knee injury.

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A doctor on the documentary said, “Around the time he disappeared, he needed a left knee replacement,” he continued, “if he didn’t get one, he might never be able to play sports again.” Apparently, the possibility led an operation and a sediment life led to Simmons sinking into a deep depression.

Richard Simmons once again took the opportunity to smash any wild rumors sparked by the documentary. His rep Tom Estey released a statement: “Richard is eternally grateful for the continued outpouring of love and gratitude he has received from around the world. He is happy, healthy and living the life he chose.”

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Richard Simmons in orange tank top smiles and raises arm.

Simmons’ knee problems began in 2014 and apparently he needed replacements for both his right and left knees, but the surgery on his right knee was painful and delayed the replacement of his left knee. To date, as far as the sources know, Simmons has not had corrective surgery on his left knee and he needs a cane to walk. Since then, Simmons has never been the same person.

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Simmons has always taken care of his legacy and image. The documentary claims that Simmons wants to be remembered as a “living, healthy man” rather than an “elderly man with medical problems.”

Richard Simmons runs a fitness class at Slimmons

The flamboyant, frizzy-haired fitness guru didn’t get off to an easy start. Born and raised in New Orleans, he began overeating at a young age and eventually became overweight. Simmons’ obesity had a negative impact on his self-esteem. In an emotional interview from the 1980s, Simmons says, “I went through a lot of injuries as a kid. I was the tallest kid in school. At 15 I weighed 200 pounds. I went to my first Halloween party dressed as a couch. I was the one made fun of. I felt very bad.”

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Simmons moved to Los Angeles in his early 20s and noticed that most health clubs catered to people who were already fit. It was then that he decided to make it his personal mission to create a fitness environment that is open to people of all shapes and sizes.

It wasn’t long before Simmons’ eccentric and unconventional fitness classes became popular and he began selling workout tapes. To date, Simmons has sold approximately 65 million tapes, DVDs and cassettes. His fitness bestseller Sweatin’ To The Oldies grossed more than $200 million.

Fitness enthusiasts around the world have looked up to Richard Simmons for her health and fitness motivation, and there’s no doubt why. He has opened the door for people of all shapes and sizes to achieve their goals and improve their lives, and in the process he has created a legacy few could ever repeat.


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