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Fitness guru Richard Simmons: 'I am not transitioning' into a woman

Fitness guru Richard Simmons: 'I am not transitioning' into a woman
Fitness personality Richard Simmons warms up the crowd with an exercise routine before the 2013 AIDS Walk Los Angeles. Simmons recently addressed rumors that he was transitioning into a woman. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Richard Simmons has taken to Facebook to address rumors lobbed last week that the longtime fitness guru has transitioned into a woman. 

“Some tabloids have recently falsely reported that I am transitioning. In response, I feel compelled to set the record straight and refute these lies,” Simmons said in the statement posted Tuesday night.

The rumors, originating with the National Enquirer, accompanied some concern for the reclusive Simmons, who was recently hospitalized overnight for dehydration. In March, Simmons called the “Today” show to quash rumors that he was being held prisoner in his own home.

"All the people that are worrying about me, I want to tell them that I love them with my whole heart and soul, and not to worry, Richard's fine,” Simmons told host Savannah Guthrie at the time. "You haven't seen the last of me. I'll come back and I'll come back strong."

Simmons’ representative Tom Estey responded to the transitioning claims last week, telling People: “He is not transitioning into a woman. He has decided to live quietly the last few years.” Estey also detailed knee issues that Simmons has suffered, which have contributed to his lowered profile.

In his Facebook message Tuesday, Simmons reiterated that while he was not transitioning, he supports the journey of all the individuals who are, before turning his attention to current events. 

“We should not lose focus on showing love, strength and compassion to all of the LGBT community during these tragic times. My broken heart and healing thoughts are with the people of Orlando and all other victims of prejudice, bigotry and hate,” Simmons wrote of mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday.

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