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Jonnie Irwin dies aged 50 following cancer battle

The TV presenter was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in 2020

Jonnie Irwin celebrates 50th birthday with family
Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
2 February 2024
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Jonnie Irwin has passed away at the age of 50 following a battle with cancer. The A Place in the Sun presenter's death was confirmed on Friday in a social media post.

"In Loving Memory. It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of Jonnie’s passing," the post read. "A truly remarkable soul, he fought bravely against cancer with unwavering strength and courage. Jonnie touched the lives of so many with his kindness, warmth, and infectious spirit. At this time, we kindly ask for the privacy of Jonnie’s family as they navigate through this profound loss.

Jonnie Irwin smiling with blonde hair and a black suit arrives at the TV Choice Awards 2010 at The Dorchester © Getty
Jonnie Irwin has passed away after a battle with cancer

"Their grief is immeasurable, and your thoughts, prayers, and support are deeply appreciated.

As we remember the beautiful moments shared with Jonnie, let us celebrate a life well-lived and a legacy that will forever be etched in our hearts. Jonnie may be gone from our sight, but his love, laughter, and memories will live on. Rest in peace, dear Jonnie. You will be dearly missed, but never forgotten."

Jonnie's battle with cancer 

In August 2020, Jonnie was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, which spread to his brain. 

The presenter was working in Italy filming for A Place in the Sun when he first began to suspect that something might be wrong with his health. After experiencing blurry vision while driving, Jonnie had some tests done, which soon revealed that the cancer had spread to his brain. 

jonnie irwin selfie© Photo: ITV
Jonnie was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2020

"Within a week of flying back from filming, I was being given six months to live," he told HELLO! in an exclusive interview in November 2022. "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."

READ: Jonnie Irwin gets ready for extra special Father's Day and explains why he hasn't told his children about his cancer diagnosis

Jonnie with his wife Jessica© Instagram
Jonnie with his wife Jessica

The presenter, who chose to keep his diagnosis private for two years, hoped that by speaking openly about his illness, he "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".

Jonnie, who shares son Rex, five and three-year-old twins Rafa and Cormac, with his wife Jessica, tried to maintain a positive mindset about his diagnosis. "I don't know how long I have left, but I try to stay positive and my attitude is that I'm living with cancer, not dying from it," he explained. "I set little markers – things I want to be around for. I got into the habit of saying: 'Don't plan ahead because I might not be well enough.' 

jonnie irwin exclusive© Photo: HELLO!
Jonnie opened up about his diagnosis in an interview with HELLO!

"But now I want to make plans. 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."

jonnie irwin
Jonnie was a presenter on Escape to the Country and A Place in the Sun

Jonnie Irwin's wife and family  

Jonnie married his wife Jess in 2016 following a whirlwind romance that began after they were introduced by a friend less than one year earlier. 

The TV star popped the question following a hike to the top of the Red Fort in Jaipur, India and the couple tied the knot a few months later. They went on to welcome three children, Rex, who was born in 2018, and twins Rafa and Cormac, who arrived in 2020. 

jonnie irwin wife jessica paris
Jonnie and Jess married in 2016

SEE: 8 adorable photos of Jonnie Irwin's sons

Speaking about his wife in a previous interview with The Sun, Jonnie gushed: "I asked Jess to marry me because not only is she very pretty but classically so, but she was fun. That's not to say anyone else I've dated wasn't fun, but she was just on my wavelength. 

Jonnie's three sons cuddling on a chair© Instagram
Jonnie and Jessica's three sons: Rex and twins Rafa and Cormac

"She has a great spirit of adventure and we didn't have one argument until the kids came along, and all parents fall out don't they?"

Did Jonnie and Jess tell their sons about their dad's illness? 

In an interview with HELLO! in June to celebrate Father's Day, the couple revealed that they had chosen not to tell their sons about their dad's illness. "I keep being asked, 'Are you going to tell them?' but tell them what?" Jonnie asked. "It would be horrible news that they'd have to get their heads around. And it would confuse the hell out of Rex – he's got a shocking enough day coming. Let's bury our heads in the sand for as long as possible." 

WATCH: Jonnie Irwin talks about being a father in emotional Father's Day video

Speaking about her husband, Jess, 40, described him as a "great dad". "All the boys gravitate to him when they want to show off and get his attention," she said. 

Jonnie Irwin with his three children, Rex, Rafa and Cormac
Jonnie chose not to tell his sons about his illness

"They're aware that Jonnie needs his rest and can't always jump up and play football for hours, but they're more than happy snuggled up on the sofa, watching a movie. Story time is a big thing at bedtime and that is something I know Jonnie treasures with them." 

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