TV presenter Jonnie Irwin has revealed he is living with terminal cancer and hopes to use his diagnosis to inspire others to “make the most of every day”.
The father-of-three, who presents Channel 4’s A Place In The Sun and the BBC’s Escape To The Country, was initially diagnosed with lung cancer back in 2020 and told he had just six months to live.
The 48-year-old has now shared that the disease has spread to his brain, telling Hello magazine: “I don’t know how long I have left.”
Irwin said the first warning sign of his illness came while he was filming in Italy in August 2020, when his vision became blurry.
“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.”
Irwin and his wife Jessica share a three-year-old son named Rex and two-year-old twins, Rafa and Cormac.
‘It feels like I’m carrying a dirty secret’
Up until now, Irwin had chosen to keep his illness private, but decided to speak about his diagnosis in the hope of inspiring others with “life-limiting prospects”.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
He added: “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.”
Despite his diagnosis, Irwin is determined to work as much as possible, saying he is taking the attitude that he is “living with cancer, not dying from it”.
“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,” he said.