Jonnie Irwin: A Place in the Sun and Escape to the Country presenter says he has terminal cancer

‘I don’t know how long I have left,’ property show host said

Jacob Stolworthy
Monday 14 November 2022 12:25 GMT

‘A Place In The Sun’ TV Presenter Jonnie Irwin Reveals Terminal Cancer Diagnosis

Jonnie Irwin, presenter of shows A Place in the Sun and Escape to the Country, has terminal cancer.

The host, 48, kept his illness a secret, but has decided to make the news public after learning the cancer has spread from his lungs to his brain.

He said in a new interview that he he hopes it will inspire people to “make the most of every day”.

In a new issue of Hello! Magazine, Irwin said: “I don’t know how long I have.”

He said he first became aware something was wrong while filming Channel 4 daytime series A Place in the Sun in August 2020. He experienced blurry vision while driving and, “within a week of flying back from filming” he said he was “given six months to live”.

“I had to go home and tell my wife, who was looking after our babies, that she was on her own pretty much,” he said, adding: “That was devastating. All I could do was apologise to her. I felt so responsible.”

Discussing his decision to come forward with the diagnosis, Irwin continued: “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.”

Irwin has a three-year-old son named Rex, and two-year-old twins named Rafa and Cormac with his wife Jessica.

‘A Place in the Sun’ presenter Jonnie Irwin

He said that, while he is unsure how long her has left to live, he tries “to stay positive” and tell himself that he’s 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.’

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“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.”

Irwin also recommended taking out life insurance, stating “that has helped so much”.

“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.”

Jonnie Irwin on ‘Escape to the Country’

Before presenting, Irwin played rugby for Lutterworth RFC and then for Rugby Lions RFC, until he broke his back in an accident, and was forced to retire.

Irwin has presented A Place in the Sun since 2004, and won the role after being selected from hundreds of applicants alongside co-host Jasmine Harman.

He regularly appears at presentations, where he gives tips on buing property overseas.

Irwin’s other credits include the BBC series Escape to the Country and To Buy or Not To Buy.

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