Jonnie Irwin worried about impact of cost of living on his family when he dies

'The cost of living is going to be a concern, because I'm not going to be around too much longer to witness it, but my family certainly will'

TV presenter Jonnie Irwin says he worries his young children will not remember him if he dies this year, after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

The A Place In The Sun and Escape To The Country presenter, 49, said it was hard knowing he would not be there for his family in the future, especially during the cost of living crisis.

Earlier this month, Irwin, from Leicestershire, said he did not know “how much time I have left” after his lung cancer spread to his brain.

He revealed the first warning sign of his illness came while he was filming A Place In The Sun in August 2020 in Italy, when his vision became blurry while driving.

The broadcaster shares three-year-old son Rex and two-year-old twins Rafa and Cormac with his wife Jessica. He said he has not yet told his children, as it would be "a lot for them to get their heads around".

Jonnie Irwin with his wife Jessica, 40, and their children, Rex, three, and two-year-old twins Rafa and Cormac. Credit: Hello!/PA

Speaking on Good Morning Britain on Thursday, Irwin revealed he is concerned about how the rising cost of living will affect his family once he has died.

“When you get given this red flag but everyone else will go past it, you think ‘well I’ve got to put them in the best financial position as possible'," he said.

"The cost of living is a concern because I might not be around to witness it but my family will.”

Irwin also said he was "in fear" about losing work and people treating him differently once he made his diagnosis public.

Irwin said: “My going public is actually more to educate those without cancer.

"Treat us normally, treat us with respect.

"We are in a lot of way people with disabilities but we deserve the respect every human deserves.

"Helen McCrory from Peaky Blinders felt she had to keep it secret all of her life and it shouldn’t be that way.

"We should be able to talk about our feelings.”

He said he told he could no longer work on Channel 4's A Place in the Sun due to insurance reasons, a decision which upset him.

Irwin said: “I felt massively aggrieved because I could work on Escape to the Country and travel away from home for three to four days.

"When I was told I couldn’t do a Place in the Sun because they couldn’t think they could get insurance it just broke my heart, because it felt like they didn’t even have a thought for me.”

Freeform Productions responded to Irwin's claims and said: “No stone was left unturned in trying to enable Jonnie to continue his international filming with us during Covid, but we were unable to provide adequate insurance cover for him.”

Speaking to The Sun newspaper about his children, he said: "I think they’re not going to remember me, they’re really not.

“They’re too young and if I die this year there’s no chance they will have memories.”

He added: “Someone else is probably going to bring them up. I’ve done the hard yards with them and someone else will get the easy bit.”

Irwin previously told Hello! magazine that he hoped sharing his diagnosis would inspire others to “make the most of every day”, and encouraged people to take out life insurance.

He said he had chosen to keep his illness private until recently.

Lung cancer symptoms

There are usually no symptoms of lung cancer in its early stages, but as it develops the symptoms the NHS says to be aware of are:

  • a cough that does not go away after 3 weeks

  • a long-standing cough that gets worse

  • chest infections that keep coming back

  • coughing up blood

  • an ache or pain when breathing or coughing

  • persistent breathlessness

  • persistent tiredness or lack of energy

  • loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss

For more information on lung cancer, its causes and symptoms, visit the NHS website.

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