UPDATE: On Monday morning, Richard Simmons called into the "Today" show to set the record straight on his whereabouts. He said, "No one is holding me in my house as a hostage. I do what I want to do as I've always done."
He continued, "I've taught, like, thousands and thousands of classes and, you know, right now I just want to sort of just take care of me. I just really don't want to do anything. I just don't want to be traveling anymore. It certainly has taken its toll on me. You haven't seen the last of me. I'll come back and I'll come back strong."
In spite of an alarming New York Daily News piece in which one of his friends insisted Richard may be a captive in his own home, Simmons' rep says the fitness mogul is simply taking a break from public life.
According to People magazine, Tom Estey, identified as Simmons' representative, says, "As I have stated in the past, these claims are untrue and preposterous. Richard, after 40 years of being in the spotlight, is now simply taking a break from the public eye and working behind the scenes to continue to help those millions of people worldwide in need of his assistance and on several projects to be announced soon."
The statement echoes one made by Simmons' longtime manager Michael Catalano in response to the New York Daily News piece.
Simmons has not been seen in two years. His latest Instagram photo is from 112 weeks ago.