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Dying TV host’s devastating personal admission as he claims ‘cruel’ act saw him axed from screens

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A British TV star has claimed he was axed from his show after informing bosses of his terminal cancer diagnosis.

Jonnie Irwin, former host of A Place in the Sun, claimed he was paid off when he was diagnosed mid-way through a series, and his contract was not renewed, in a decision that “broke his heart”.

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The father of three was first told in 2020 he had six months to live, after lung cancer spread to his brain.

Two years on, he is still battling and doesn’t “know how long I have left”.

Initially, the 48-year-old told only close friends, family and his bosses at the lifestyle series A Place in the Sun about his prognosis.

Jonnie Irwin and wife Jessica. Credit: Instagram

The show assists couples in swapping their homes in Britain for somewhere close to “sun, sea and sand abroad”.

“As soon as people find out you’ve got cancer they write you off,” Irwin told The Sun.

“Yes, I have stage four and it’s terminal — but not yet, so let me live my life while I can.

“As soon as I told A Place In The Sun about my diagnosis, they paid me for the rest of the season but didn’t renew my contract.

“They knew I wanted to carry on.

“That hurt. That broke my heart. I feel hugely let down. I can’t even watch the show now.”

Irwin has continued to work on a different show, Escape to the Country, where city slickers are matched with potential rural homes.

“Even though I look thinner and I’m without hair, Escape to the Country and A Place In The Sun Ltd, which runs the show’s exhibitions, have employed me and I’ve been so impressed by them,” he said.

Jonnie Irwin has announced his lung cancer has spread. Credit: Channel 4

“But I didn’t get that support from A Place In The Sun.

“I told them I wanted to work.

“When I said, ‘I can get you doctor notes and assurances from my oncologist that I am fit to work’, I was told, verbatim, ‘Oh, you really don’t want to go down that route, do you?’”

The loss of his role on A Place in the Sun is also what led to him keeping quiet about his diagnosis until he told the world earlier this month.

Irwin said the lack of support and willingness to continue with him “affected my mental health”.

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“Within two weeks, someone else was on TV doing my job. I just feel I earned a bit more from them after 18 years,” he said.

“That was my first job in TV and it was special to me.

“To have that taken away from me… that wage, that purpose… as if the cancer wasn’t bad enough.”

TV show responds

In a statement to The Sun, Channel 4 and production company Freeform said: “No stone was left unturned in trying to enable Jonnie to continue his international filming with us during COVID but the production company were unable to secure adequate insurance cover for him.

“We, of course, understand how frustrating this must be for him at this incredibly difficult time.”

7NEWS.com.au has reached out to A Place In The Sun’s production team for additional comment.

Irwin also described needing the job to put a roof over his family’s heads.

He said the decision led to him selling much of his property portfolio so his wife Jessica and sons Rex, three, and twins, Rada and Cormac, two, would be financially secure.

Jonnie Irwin with his wife Jessica and their three sons Rex, Rada and Cormac. Credit: Instagram

The family man also says he has given thought to his wife re-marrying after he is gone.

He says he hopes she will find someone else – ideally a divorced dad or someone who has also lost their partner.

“It breaks my heart,” he said of thinking about Jess with someone new.

“That’s her life, as much as it hurts me to think this way”.

“It’s cruel. But I’ve tried to resist thoughts of ‘why me’.”

When Irwin first shared the news of his terminal cancer on November 13, he admitted to Hello magazine, “I don’t know how long I have left.”

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“I try to stay positive and my attitude is that I’m living with cancer, not dying from it.”

The TV star was in Italy filming A Place in the Sun when he experienced blurry vision while driving.

“Within a week of flying back from filming, I was being given six months to live,” he said.

Despite the initial prognosis, treatment including chemotherapy has helped prolong Irwin’s life.

And, after two years of living with cancer, he wanted to share his story beyond the “very small group of friends and family” who knew.

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Source: 7News