TV presenter Jonnie Irwin has revealed he has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
The 48-year-old, who presents Channel 4’s A Place In The Sun and the BBC’s Escape To The Country, said Good morning! magazine his lung cancer had spread to his brain.
“I don’t know how much time I have left,” he told the publication.
He added that he hopes his diagnosis will inspire people to “make the most of every day”.
Irwin, who shares three-year-old son Rex and two-year-old twins Rafa and Cormac with his wife Jessica, had kept his illness a secret until now.
He explained that the first warning signs appeared in 2020, when his vision became blurry while driving, while filming A Place In The Sun in Italy.
“A week after returning from filming, I was given six months to live,” he said.
“I had to come home and tell my wife, who was looking after our babies, that she was pretty much alone. It was devastating.
“All I could do was apologize to her. I felt so responsible.”
Irwin continued to work as hard as he could and said it got to the point where “I felt like I was carrying a dirty secret, it became a monkey on my back”.
“I hope that by shaking this monkey, I could inspire people who live with life-limiting perspectives to make the most of every day, to help them see that you can live a positive life, even if you you’re dying,” he continued. .
“One day it will catch up with me, but I’m doing everything I can to keep this day off as long as possible.
“I owe it to Jess and our boys. Some people in my position have bucket lists, but I just want us to do everything we can as a family.”
The real estate expert, who also writes articles and gives lectures on the subject, says he does not know precisely “how much time I have left” but tries to stay “positive” and to “make memories” with his family, believing that it was “to live with cancer, not die from it”.
“I put little markers, things I want to be for,” he said. “I got into the habit of saying, ‘don’t plan ahead because maybe I’m not doing well enough.’
“But now I want to make plans. I want to make memories and capture those 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 bought life insurance and encouraged others to do the same.
“It has helped so much and when I leave this planet I will do so knowing that Jess and the boys are in a fully paid house and there is some money in the bank so they can live.”
‘Thank you for the sun’
Reacting to the news, her Place in the Sun co-host Jasmine Harman said: “Words can’t solve much, but what beautiful words of support you’ve had here. [on social media] Jonnie.
“I know you already know this, but I’m here for you my dear, along with Jess and the boys. So, so brave. Sending you lots of love, see you soon.”
The show’s official Instagram page added: “We don’t have the words, we just have love, affection and respect for our friend and colleague of so many years, the wonderful Jonnie Irwin. . We are thinking of you, Jess and the boys. X.”
The viewer posted on Twitter: “So sad tonight. Jonnie is a wonderful presenter and comes across as a really decent person.”
“So sad,” added another. “I have always appreciated Jonnie’s sense of humor and zest for life. I hope these traits help him and his family through these very difficult times. Thank you for all the sunshine Jonnie. “
Irwin has been a presenter on A Place in the Sun since 2004 and has appeared on Escape to the Country since 2010.