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Richard Simmons reveals skin cancer journey after worrisome 'I am….dying' Facebook post

A man with short curly hair in a purple suit with a bedazzled trim and a matching tie smiling with his mouth open
Fitness personality Richard Simmons revealed his skin cancer diagnosis and removal on Facebook. (Richard Shotwell / Invision / Associated Press)

Richard Simmons offered his fans an update about his health, days after sharing a cryptic Facebook post contemplating his mortality.

The reclusive fitness guru, 75, revealed on Tuesday that he had been diagnosed with skin cancer and received treatment to remove the cancerous cells. Simmons detailed finding "a strange looking bump under my right eye" in a pair of Facebook posts.

The self-proclaimed "Weight Saint" said he set up an appointment with his dermatologist, who tested the lump and determined it was "the C word," specifically "basel [sic] cell carcinoma."

"I told him to stop calling me dirty names," Simmons recalled the interaction. "He laughed."

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The Mayo Clinic says basal cell carcinomas are a type of skin cancer thought to be "caused by long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight." The cancer impacts basal cells, which produce new skin cells, and often appear as a transparent bump on the skin.

After receiving his diagnosis, Simmons said he saw a specialist who could remove the cancer cells. As part of treatment, the specialist "explained that he has to burn my skin," Simmons recalled.

"There was no numbing it just had to be done with a small instrument," he wrote, then added, "The burning really hurt my skin."

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Simmons, who disappeared from the public eye in 2014, said he underwent multiple sessions in the same day to remove all the cancerous cells. The fitness personality, after receiving "a little Frankenstein patch under my right" eye post-surgery, said his own cancer experience prompted him to reflect on those of his loved ones. He concluded his post with a prompt to fans to "promise me you will see your doctor and get a complete check up."

The Slimmons studio founder, known for his high-energy workout videos and wide smile, shared his cancer revelation after telling his devoted fans "I am….dying" in a Facebook post shared earlier this week. He urged his followers to enjoy "your life to the fullest," eat full and healthy meals and — of course — exercise. He also encouraged followers to "tell the ones that you love that you love them."

"Hug those people and children who you really care for. A big hug really goes a long way," he said, before recommending the Tim McGraw song "Live Like You Were Dying."

Read more: Worried about Richard Simmons? Don't be. But he's grateful for fans' 'kindness'

In the comments, concerned fans voiced love for Simmons and praised him for his lively spirit. "You keep me going Richard," one fan wrote.

After his initial eerie post made the internet rounds, Simmons shared another statement on Tuesday clarifying, "I am not dying."

"It was a message about saying how we should embrace every day that we have," he said. "Sorry for this confusion."

Simmons, who built his exercise empire in the 1980s and ’90s, has kept his fans in the loop via Facebook since retreating from public life a decade ago. His life and vibrant personality are set to take the spotlight in a biopic starring Pauly Shore. After news of the film spread in January, Simmons said he has no part in the project.

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“You may have heard they may be doing a movie about me with Pauly Shore,” Simmons wrote in a January post. “I have never given my permission for this movie. So don’t believe everything you read.”

He added: "I no longer have a manager, and I no longer have a publicist. I just try to live a quiet life and be peaceful. Thank you for all your love and support."

Times staff writer Jonah Valdez contributed to this report.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.