Richard Simmons is speaking out publicly for the first time in years following the release of a new TMZ documentary focusing on his mysterious disappearance from the spotlight.
On Wednesday, the 74-year-old fitness guru shared a brief message with fans on Facebook to express gratitude for their support.
"Thank you, everyone, for your kindness and love! Love, Richard," read the message, which was posted next to a photo of a smiling emoji holding a "Thank you" sign.
Simmons' spokesperson, Tom Estey, confirmed to TODAY that the "Sweatin' to the Oldies" star posted the message, which comes just days after the premiere of “TMZ Investigates: What Really Happened to Richard Simmons,” a documentary on Fox and Hulu.
“Richard is eternally grateful for the continuous outpouring of love and gratitude he has received from across the Globe. He is happy, healthy and living the life he has chosen to live," Estey said in a statement.
Fans commented on Simmons’ post to let him know they supported his decision to leave fame — at least for now — behind him.
“I watched the documentary about you last night. You’re an amazing person who has opened his heart and soul to all for so many years. Now you do you, Mr. Simmons! You have and continue to bring joy to millions across the globe. Bravo!” wrote one.
“I’m so proud of you for taking time for yourself. You’ve given so much of yourself to the world, and now it’s your time. Good for you Thank you for blessing and inspiring me so richly,” said another.
The TMZ documentary covers Simmons’ childhood as an overweight and introverted boy with few friends and details his rise to fame as a weight-loss expert who charmed TV audiences with his animated personality.
For decades, fans could exercise with Simmons in person at his Beverly Hills fitness studio, Slimmons.
But, as the documentary details, Simmons abruptly stopped teaching at the studio in February 2014 without providing an explanation. He hasn't been seen in public since.
Over the years, rumors have swirled about the reasons why Simmons left the spotlight, with some fans wondering if the star was being held hostage by his longtime housekeeper Teresa Reveles — a theory Simmons himself debunked during a March 2016 telephone call to TODAY's Savannah Guthrie.
"No one is holding me in my house as a hostage,’’ Simmons told Guthrie on the air. “You know, I do what I want to do as I’ve always done so people should sort of just believe what I have to say because like I’m Richard Simmons!”
Simmons called the rumors about Reveles controlling his life "very silly."
“Teresa Reveles has been with me for 30 years. It’s almost like we’re a married couple," he said at the time.
The TMZ documentary also highlighted the knee problems Simmons has suffered with since he was a child, as well as his penchant for the quiet life, two things Simmons mentioned while speaking with Savannah.
“I just sort of wanted to be a little bit of a loner for a little while,’’ he explained. “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 sort of take care of me.”
During the call, Simmons, whose reclusiveness inspired the popular podcast “Missing Richard Simmons,” assured fans that his health was "good."
“For all the people that were worrying about me, I want to tell them that I love them with my whole heart and soul and that not to worry, Richard’s fine,’’ he said.
“You haven’t seen the last of me. I’ll come back, and I’ll come back strong.”
In April 2017, after Simmons was hospitalized for "severe indigestion" at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, he posted on Facebook to thank fans for their support.
“Hello to everyone who has shown concern for me and sent their good wishes. You will never know how much it means to me,” he wrote.
“Aren’t you sick of hearing and reading about me?! LOL,” he jokingly added. “Well by now you know that I’m not ‘missing,’ just a little under the weather.”
Days later, Simmons thanked the hospital's staff in a Facebook message.
“I wanted to take a moment to send a big thank you to the wonderful doctors, nurses and staff at Cedars Sinai Medical Center during my short stay there this week,” wrote the star. “They make you feel good even though you’re in the hospital for feeling bad.”