It's safe to say everyone misses Richard Simmons.
The last time the fitness guru made a public appearance was in February 2013. However, the topic of his disappearance has been making headlines lately due to some recent health issues as well as a podcast called Missing Richard Simmons, which has documented Dan Taberski's mission for solving why Simmons has gone MIA from the public eye for over the last three years.
The cause for question is definitely legitimate. After all, he ghosted his ever-popular multmillion-dollar fitness empire and simply shut down his work out studio. He stopped appearing at the charity events that he'd always been such a big support for, and he even stopped talking to some of his closest friends and fans.
All of this has sparked some major internet theories, most of which suggest he's being held against his will (specifically by his maid Teresa Reveles). However, Simmons himself came out of hiding to refute that in March 2016.
"No one is holding me in my house as a hostage,'' Simmons phoned in and told the Today Show at the time. "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."
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for MTV
He continued, "I just sort of wanted to be a little bit of a loner for a little while. You know, I had hurt my knee, and I had some problems with it, and then the other knee started giving me trouble...and you know, right now I just want to sort of take care of me."
Although this message may have seemed out-of-the-blue for a lot of fans, Simmons' final year in the spotlight was a big stepping stone toward his "retirement" (if you will). As his publicist, Tom Estey, said in a statement last month, "People claim that it happened overnight. It really didn't. We were turning down stuff for years and just kind of quieting down."
Let's take a look back at some of his final public appearances and the signs that seemed to point to Simmons' decision to go MIA for a bit...
Feb. 21, 2013: Simmons did an interview with Kirsty TV in February 2013 during which he made it a point to emphasize the importance of loving yourself first—advice he's admitted he needed to follow himself during his time out of the spotlight.
In the conversation, he mentions his knees hurting and admits, "At some point, tou gotta love more than what you see in the mirror."
He added, "What I've learned is you have to sit down by yourself and make a list of your accomplishments and make a list of your goals and start to make some sense of it all."
This definitely appears to be a message about his own hopes for himself and his desire to be alone for a while.
March 15, 2013: During an interview on CNBC's The Big Idea, Simmons admitted he still didn't feel totally accepted.
"When I was 8-years-old, to make extra money in my home, I sold pralines on the street corner from three to six o'clock every day to bring home extra money for the family," he explained. "What got me extra tips was my humor, trying to make people laugh who didn't even speak English, just so they could feel good and smile and maybe not think of their problems for a while. That's what I've done all my life. And I'll continue because I'm still the little fat kid on the street corner selling candy, wanting to be accepted."
When asked whether he felt accepted after his massively successful career, he took a long pause and admitted, "Sometimes," with tears in his eyes. "It made me happiest to make people laugh," he added with a cryptic tone. "Whether people were laughing with me or at me, I got them laughing."
Could this have been a realization that he needed to take time to accept himself, even after all of his success?
Aug. 28, 2013: After attending the 2013 MTV VMAs, Simmons sat down with Entertainment Tonight and opened up about the experience.
"It's really all about the people…I've never considered myself a star," he said through teary eyes. "I would always say to myself, 'Accolades make you fade.' I met a lot of [famous people], but it was the people in the stands coming up and saying, 'My grandmother and I use your Sweat to the Oldies,' or 'I lost 40 lbs.' So that's why I really went to the MTV VMAs."
Again, there appears to be an underlying message here of how Simmons has helped so many people, but felt that lack of love in and for himself. Not to mention, he hints at "fading"—perhaps a foreshadow of what was to come.
Sept. 24, 2013: Simmons went on Sirius XM's The Howard Stern Show, but not for long. He ended up walking off after Stern made some controversial remarks.
"He embraces both sexes," Stern said pointing to Simmons. "You're sometimes very womanly, you appeal to both sexes."
This did not settle well with Simmons who stormed out of the studio and left. "If you need help you can call mem" the fitness guru said through tears. "I'll come see you again when I feel better."
Nov. 27, 2013: Simmons went on Fox News in 2013 for the first time in several years after an argument with Neil Cavuto. The appearance may have marked him closing the door on the feud before he decided to step out of the public eye.
Once again, it was an emotional conversation.
When asked about the purpose behind his "Hair Do" music video, Simmons began crying, "Just to make people feel good and laugh, whether they're laughing with me or at me, I don't mind" (a statement we'd heard before).
"For 40 years I've been making people try to like themselves more. We live in a world where everyone's bullying," he said, recalling his own difficult past. "I never told you this story. When I was in high school—an all-Catholic boys high school—when I went to the bathroom in the stall, they would put lighter fluid under and put a flame to it to burn me. If you're very different in any way—this was in the '50s—you were tortured."
He demanded this type of bullying end, noting there are so many other things to be concerned about, including health. "I buried a lot of people this year," he said. "People who just couldn't fight the battle of obesity anymore, or anorexia or any of it."
Jan. 1, 2014: In honor of the New Year, Simmons stopped by CNN and chatted about health and fitness goals.
However, once the conversation turned to himself, he couldn't keep it together. Host Brooke Baldwin asked, "What do you say to yourself when you look in the mirror in the morning?"
Simmons immediately began sobbing, "I say, 'Try to help more people because there are more obese [people] in the world right now, more than ever in the history of the United States.' ...Just remember you're one of a kind, and God could have made you a butterfly that lasted three months, but he made you a human being."
Still crying, he said the biggest compliment anyone could give him is, "That I just simply made them laugh, and that I gave them hope because with hope you can cope."
Feb. 13, 2014: Simmons shared his final workout video, which appropriately marked his final "public" appearance.
Through all the tears and underlying messages about being along and loving yourself, we'd say his decision to step out of the public eye probably shouldn't have come as big of a surprise as it did.
What do you think? Sound off in the comments below, and don't forget to take a look back at more of his final public appearances in the gallery above.