Dancin' and sweatin' may never be the same for Richard Simmons devotees: On Saturday, the fitness guru's exercise studio near Los Angeles held its final class.
Since opening in 1974, Simmons' Slimmons Studio saw thousands of fans walk through its doors to experience the star's signature workout classes. And while some were hoping to see the "Sweatin' to the Oldies" star for one last session on Saturday, Simmons decided to mark the occasion with a heartfelt post on social media instead.
"I will not see you today because I am not very good at endings. I would just spend the whole time hugging and crying. My eyes would get puffy and red, my hair would get all frizzy and I'd be a mess," he wrote to his Facebook followers Saturday afternoon. "I cannot bear to be sad today. And you shouldn't be sad either. This should be a celebration of our forty-plus years together dancin' and sweatin'. So let's turn this ending into a new beginning."
He continued, "When I opened Slimmons in 1974, I simply couldn't wait to tell everyone that food could be healthy AND delicious or that exercise could be fun! I worked my little striped shorts off to spread the message that you must move your body every day, that portion size matters and that while others may not always be kind to you, you must be kind to yourself."
Simmons' fame extended beyond his well-known "Sweatin' to the Oldies" fitness videos — his high-energy, upbeat personality and sense of humor made him a popular television talk show guest.
Earlier this year, a New York Daily News report suggested that Simmons was being held hostage, possibly by a long-time housekeeper, in his own home. In an interview on "Today," Simmons dismissed the rumors as "very silly."
"I do what I want to do as I've always done, so people should just sort of believe what I have to say, because I'm Richard Simmons," he told "Today."
But, the always high-octane Simmons has been steadily slowing in recent years. He suffered a number of knee injuries, and he also said that teaching thousands of exercise classes had taken a toll.
After decades of helping others shed excess pounds and embrace healthier habits, the 68-year-old said now he'll be focusing on taking care of himself.
"I am being kind to myself, and putting myself first. I am making changes and taking time to do the things I want to do. Please know that I am in good health and I am happy," he explained. "No one has ever been able to tell me what to do and the same is true today. I am still independent, determined and opinionated. I simply am making a new beginning for myself — quietly and in my very own special way."
He concluded, "Be kind to one another, be kind to your body and be kind to yourself. I love you."