Jonnie Irwin says he worries his children ‘won’t remember me’ if he dies this year

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Jonnie Irwin has said he fears his young children will not remember him if he dies this year, following his terminal cancer diagnosis.

The TV presenter, known for hosting Channel 4’s A Place In The Sun and BBC’s Escape To The Country, admitted that it has been difficult to see nice things happen for his family because of the knowledge he was “not going to be around much longer”.

Irwin, 49, went public with his diagnosis earlier this month and said he does not know “how much time I have left” after his lung cancer spread to his brain.

He shares three-year-old son Rex and two-year-old twins Rafa and Cormac with his wife Jessica.

Speaking to The Sun, he said: “Every time something really nice happens with them, I have this thing knocking at my door, saying, ‘Don’t get too happy because you’re not going to be around much longer’.

“Then I think, they’re not gong 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.”

Irwin continued: “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.”

The presenter also appeared on Good Morning Britain on Thursday (24 November) for his first TV interview since revealing his diagnosis.

He said his children don’t know about his terminal cancer and he does not think “there’s any need to tell them” yet because they are so young.

“It’ll be a lot for them to get their heads around,” he said.

Jonnie Irwin (Hola/PA) (Hello! Magazine)
Jonnie Irwin (Hola/PA) (Hello! Magazine)

Reflecting on his diagnosis and his family, Irwin added: “Now it’s about making memories – as I’m sure they won’t remember me – to show them the early days were brilliant.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Irwin claimed that he was fired from A Place In The Sun because of his diagnosis and alleged Channel 4 “pushed him aside for someone healthier”.

In a new issue of Hello! magazine this month, Irwin said he first became aware something was wrong with his health while filming A Place In The Sun in August 2020.

He said that “within a week of flying back from filming”, he was “given six months to live”.

“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,” Irwin said of his decision to make his diagnosis public. “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.

“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.”