A Place in the Sun star Jonnie Irwin, 48, reveals his heartbreaking terminal cancer diagnosis


TV presenter Jonnie Irwin has revealed he is suffering with terminal cancer, saying he hopes sharing his terminal cancer diagnosis will inspire others to ‘make the most of every day’.

The 48-year-old, who presents Channel 4‘s A Place In The Sun and the BBC‘s Escape To The Country, dropped the bombshell diagnosis that his lung cancer had spread to his brain in an interview with Hello magazine.

‘I don’t know how long I have left,’ the presenter said.

Jonnie revealed the first warning sign of his illness came while he was filming A Place In The Sun in August 2020 in Italy, when his vision became blurry while driving.

‘Within a week of flying back from filming, I was being given six months to live,’ he said.

‘I had to go home and tell my wife, who was looking after our babies, that she was on her own pretty much. That was devastating.

‘All I could do was apologise to her. I felt so responsible.’

Jonnie, who shares three-year-old son Rex and two-year-old twins Rafa and Cormac with his wife Jessica, said he had chosen to keep his illness private until now.

TV presenter Jonnie Irwin has revealed he is suffering with terminal cancer, saying he hopes sharing his terminal cancer diagnosis will inspire others to 'make the most of every day'

TV presenter Jonnie Irwin has revealed he is suffering with terminal cancer, saying he hopes sharing his terminal cancer diagnosis will inspire others to ‘make the most of every day’

Tragic news: The 48-year-old, who presents Channel 4's A Place In The Sun and the BBC's Escape To The Country, revealed his lung cancer had spread to his brain

Tragic news: The 48-year-old, who presents Channel 4’s A Place In The Sun and the BBC’s Escape To The Country, revealed his lung cancer had spread to his brain

Private battle: Jonnie, who shares three-year-old son Rex and two-year-old twins Rafa and Cormac with his wife Jessica, said he had chosen to keep his illness private until now

Private battle: Jonnie, who shares three-year-old son Rex and two-year-old twins Rafa and Cormac with his wife Jessica, said he had chosen to keep his illness private until now

'I don't know how long I have left, but I try to stay positive and my attitude is that I'm living with cancer, not dying from it,' Irwin (pictured with wife Jessica) bravely explained

‘I don’t know how long I have left, but I try to stay positive and my attitude is that I’m living with cancer, not dying from it,’ Irwin (pictured with wife Jessica) bravely explained

FROM LUTTERWORTH TO SUN-FILLED BEACHES: JONNIE IRWIN’S EXTRAORDINARY CAREER

Born in 1973, Jonnie Irwin attended Lutterworth Grammar School and Community College before becoming an estate agent.

In 2004, Irwin was selected from hundreds of applicants along with co-presenter Jasmine Harman to present Channel 4’s show A Place In The Sun – Home Or Away.

In January 2011, Sky 1 broadcast Irwin’s own show called Dream Lives for Sale, which saw him help people leave their lives in the UK behind and buy a business. 

In late 2011 he started a new series The Renovation Game which aired on weekday mornings on Channel 4.

 Irwin married Jessica Holmes in September 2016. Together they have three sons and live in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire.

On November 13, Irwin was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. He told Hello magazine: ‘I don’t know how long I have left, but I try to stay positive and my attitude is that I’m living with cancer, not dying from it.’

He said: ‘It’s got to the point now where it feels like I’m carrying a dirty secret, it’s become a monkey on my back.

‘I hope that by shaking that monkey off I might inspire people who are living with life-limiting prospects to make the most of every day, to help them see that you can live a positive life, even though you are dying.

‘One day, this is going to catch up with me, but I’m doing everything I can to hold that day off for as long as possible.

‘I owe that to Jess and our boys. Some people in my position have bucket lists, but I just want us to do as much as we can as a family.’

Jonnie’s social media was inundated with well wishes and messages of support in the wake of the news. 

Escape the Country’s Nicki Chapman wrote: ‘Love you guys so much,’ while another user posted: ‘Jonnie I am so so sorry to hear your news… Life is so cruel, to the nicest of people. I send you all our love to you and your family.’

Others chipped in: ‘Sending you and your beautiful family so much love and strength. Thank you for sharing your news, I’m sure that many people who are in a similar situation will draw strength and inspiration from you.’

Jonnie has continued to work as much as possible, while undergoing bouts of chemotherapy and other treatments. 

He was initially set on keeping his diagnosis between a very select group of people, but now has decided to share his experiences and explain the ordeal for others to learn from. 

The 48-year-old (pictured with Jasmine Harman), presents Channel 4 's A Place In The Sun and the BBC 's Escape To The Country

The 48-year-old (pictured with Jasmine Harman), presents Channel 4 ‘s A Place In The Sun and the BBC ‘s Escape To The Country

Irwin, pictured here in 2010 at the TV Choice Awards, said he got the first warning signs about his disease in 2020

Irwin, pictured here in 2010 at the TV Choice Awards, said he got the first warning signs about his disease in 2020

'One day, this is going to catch up with me, but I'm doing everything I can to hold that day off for as long as possible,' Irwin said

‘One day, this is going to catch up with me, but I’m doing everything I can to hold that day off for as long as possible,’ Irwin said

He said: ‘I don’t know how long I have left, but I try to stay positive and my attitude is that I’m living with cancer, not dying from it.

‘I set little markers, things I want to be around for. I got into the habit of saying, ”Don’t plan ahead because I might not be well enough”.

‘But now I want to make plans. I want to make memories and capture these moments with my family because the reality is, my boys are going to grow up not knowing their dad and that breaks my heart.’

The TV presenter is also encouraging people to take out life insurance.

He added: ‘That has helped so much and when I leave this planet, I’ll do so knowing Jess and the boys are in a house that is fully paid off and there’s a bit of money in the bank for them to live off.’



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