Jonnie Irwin shares emotional milestone with son Rex amid terminal cancer diagnosis

The ‘Escape to the Country’ presenter publicly revealed his diagnosis in November 2022

Ellie Muir
Tuesday 08 August 2023 09:54 BST
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Jonnie Irwin details palliative hospice care after terminal cancer diagnosis

Jonnie Irwin has shared an emotional milestone as he cycled with his four-year-old son Rex, on what appeared to be Rex’s last day at nursery.

The TV presenter, 49, who is best known for hosting property show A Place in the Sun and Escape to the Country, publicly revealed his diagnosis in November 2022 after his lung cancer spread to his brain. He has previously said he “doesn’t know how long” he has to live.

Irwin, who has been receiving palliative care for the past three years, posted an update on Monday (8 August) as he accompanied Rex on his way to nursery.

“Last EVER ride to nursery with Rex,” wrote Irwin in a new Instagram post, sharing a series of pictures of himself and Rex on their bicycles as Irwin’s two-year-old son, Rafa, played with a spade.

“Suitably waved off by Rafa and his spade and Rex with his game face on!” added Irwin.

Irwin, who shares his three boys Rex and twins Rafa and Cormac with his wife Jessica Holmes, detailed his experience of palliative hospice care in a recent interview with BBC Morning Live.

The property expert described his hospice experience as a “delight”, adding that his initial perception of such facilities were that they were “very much a boiling hot room full of people who looked frail and towards the end of their days”.

However, it was “nothing of the sort” when he did actually go in. “It’s spacious, energised, comfortable,” Irwin told the show, adding: “I’ve had a really, really good experience at my hospice.”

He urged anyone who is facing a terminal diagnosis to “embrace” end-of-life care and to try going to a hospice if they have been offered the choice.

“My first experience of palliative care and hospice was blood transfusions,” he explained. “I had my first blood transfusion in hospital and then was invited to use the hospice, so I have it a go as a day patient and went into a lovely room.

Jonnie Irwin at the Television and Radio Industries Club awards in June
Jonnie Irwin at the Television and Radio Industries Club awards in June (David Fisher/Shutterstock)

“I implore people to check out hospices. If you’ve got the choice of using it, then use it… I encourage people to explore that option because it’s not the doom and gloom operation you might think it was.”

Irwin recently revealed that sometimes he has to “remove himself” from his family home to go to a hospice when he is in a lot of pain because it makes him “not good to be around”.

He told Hello! magazine: “I’m like a bear with a sore head and I don’t want [my family] to be around that.”

In another appearance with podcast OneChat previously, he said that being in pain affects his mood, explaining: “I have been close to death’s door, twice at least. You lose your memory, you lose your patience. I have got a very short temper. It’s not made me a better person, that’s for sure.”

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