The well-known host of two television shows revealed he has terminal cancer. In an emotional and moving conversation, Jonnie Irwin, presenter of Escape to the Country, first explains his diagnosis of lung cancer that has spread to his brain.
The star had previously chosen to keep his illness private, but he has now decided to give his only interview to “get the monkey off my back.”
Jonnie, who lives with his wife Jessica, 40, and his children Rex, 3, Rafa, 2, and Cormac, 2, tells the magazine, “I don’t know how long I have, but I try to think positively and retain the perspective that I am living with cancer rather than dying from it.”
“I set tiny goals for myself that I want to accomplish. I developed the habit of telling people not to make plans ahead of time because I might not feel up to it. But I need to make preparations right away. My babies will not remember their father, which breaks my heart, so I want to preserve memories and capture these times with my family.”
Jonnie first became aware that something was wrong while driving while filming A Place in the Sun in Italy in August 2020. According to promptly performed tests, his lung cancer had spread to his brain.
“Within a week of flying home from filming, I was told six months to live,” he recalls. “I had to return home and inform my wife, caring for our children, that she was on her own. That was a disaster. I could only apologize to her.”
Jonnie’s outlook has been improved by chemotherapy and cancer treatments, and he has attempted to continue working. Only a few of his friends and family were aware of his sickness throughout, but he now wants to talk about it.
“It’s turned into a monkey on my back,” he says, “and I’m carrying a dirty secret. “ “I’m hoping that by shaking that monkey off and speaking up, I may inspire those facing life-threatening situations to make the most of every day and show them that it’s possible to be joyful while dying.”
“This is going to catch up with me,” he says. “But I’m doing everything I can to postpone that day as long as possible. That is something I owe to Jess and our boys. While some in my situation have bucket lists, I simply want our family to enjoy as many experiences as possible.”
Jonnie also wants to encourage people to buy life insurance. He eventually did this after the twins were born since he had always “taken chances.” “That has been a big help, and I’ll be able to die knowing that Jess and the boys have a completely paid-off house and enough money in the bank to live on when I die.”