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Jay Leno hospitalized after suffering gasoline burns from garage fire

Jay Leno poses for a portrait in September 2014 at his car garage in Burbank, Calif. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Comedian Jay Leno suffered burns to his face and hands after a gasoline fire at his garage on Sunday, according to the Grossman Burn Center in Los Angeles, where he is being treated.

“He is in good humor and is touched by all the inquiries into his condition and well wishes,” West Hills Hospital and Medical Center spokeswoman Aimee Bennett said in a statement Monday. “He wants to let everyone know he is doing well and is in ‘the best burn center in the United States.’”

In a statement, Leno, 72, said he was “ok. Just need a week or two to get back on my feet.”

People magazine reported on Sunday that Leno canceled an appearance at a financial conference in Las Vegas that evening because of a “serious medical emergency.” The Financial Brand wrote in an email to attendees that Leno’s “family was not able to provide us very many details, but there was a very serious medical emergency that is preventing Jay from traveling.”

“All we know is that he is alive, so our prayers go out to him and his family tonight,” the email continued, according to People.

Following speculation over Leno’s condition, some of it connected to his previous openness about having high cholesterol, TMZ reported that he had been admitted to the hospital after a fire broke out at his car garage.

Leno hosted “The Tonight Show” on NBC from 1992 to 2009, and again from 2010 to 2014 after a kerfuffle over the poor ratings of both his next endeavor, NBC’s “The Jay Leno Show,” and the “Tonight Show” iteration hosted by successor Conan O’Brien. During Leno’s tenure, the show landed nine Emmy Award nominations for outstanding variety series; it won once, in 2005.

After Leno officially retired from “The Tonight Show” in 2014, he began hosting “Jay Leno’s Garage,” an Emmy-winning web series about cars — inspired by his side passion — that landed a prime-time spot on CNBC in 2015. He said in a news release at the time that the show would be “about anything that rolls, explodes and makes noise,” and would “highlight the passion and the stories behind the men and women who made the automobile the greatest invention of the 20th century.”

Before receiving the Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2014, Leno explained to a Post reporter the difference in how he viewed talking about cars and hosting a late-night show: “I like this because it’s more a passion,” he said. “When you’re talking to Batman on ‘The Tonight Show,’ you’re not really talking to Batman. When you’re talking to an engineer, you’re talking to a real engineer.” At the time, Leno possessed a total of 92 motorcycles and 130 automobiles; a U.S. News & World Report article from earlier this year suggested the latter number now tops 180.

“Jay Leno’s Garage” is still on the air and featured President Biden in its Season 7 finale late last month.

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