A Place In The Sun's Jonnie Irwin urges others to take critical illness insurance

The TV presenter had to keep his cancer diagnosis a secret as he needed to keep working to support his family.

A Place in the Sun presenter Jonnie Irwin announced that he has terminal cancer. (Channel 4)
A Place in the Sun presenter Jonnie Irwin wishes he'd taken out critical illness insurance. (Channel 4)

Jonnie Irwin has said he hopes others will learn from his mistake and take out critical illness insurance.

The A Place In The Sun star – who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer – kept his conditions a secret as he continued working, out of fear he could not afford to support his wife Jess and their three young sons.

Irwin, 49, told AIG Life's One Chat podcast: "I didn’t take critical illness insurance out and therefore I had to keep working. Without work, I’ve got no means of paying the bills.

"And if I had taken the critical illness insurance out, that could’ve covered my outgoings and I probably could’ve told the world [about his condition] a lot sooner.

Read more: Jonnie Irwin kept cancer diagnosis a secret to keep working and be treated normally

“I could’ve had two years of living a more open lifestyle. And I want people to learn from that mistake. I think at the time I just thought I can better spend that money elsewhere.

"Where I don’t know. I’ve not frittered it away. Maybe because I know what benefits it would have had, it just seems ridiculous that I didn’t.

A Place In The Sun presenter Jonnie Irwin
Jonnie Irwin kept his cancer diagnosis secret for two years so he could keep working. (Channel 4)

“I thought I was doing well just taking out life insurance. It’s one positive thing and helped me a great deal in getting a financial position in life to know my wife and my boys are more secure. But how I wish I’d taken out that extra cover.”

Irwin is father to sons Rex, born in 2018, and twins Rafa and Cormac, born in 2020.

The TV presenter — also known for hosting Escape To The Country — announced in November 2022 he has terminal lung cancer which has spread to his brain, and was given six months to live by doctors.

Irwin was diagnosed in August 2020 after his vision went blurry while away filming Channel 4 property show A Place In The Sun. But he kept his diagnosis a secret for two years.

Jonnie Irwin A Place In The Sun
Jonnie Irwin wants to make the most of the time he has left with his wife and three sons. (Channel 4)

He told Good Morning Britain: "When people find out you have got cancer... I know what I felt when I just heard the words, it's just this terrifying thing, the word cancer.

"And I thought, if I feel like that, everybody else will feel like that and lo and behold I lost some work through it.

"I wanted to keep it secret because professionally I didn't want to lose work but also socially and emotionally people treat you differently and people start making decisions for you."

Read more: Jonnie Irwin felt like he'd been 'thrown on scrap heap' after revealing cancer diagnosis

Chemotherapy and cancer drugs have helped extend the initial prognosis and the TV presenter is determined to make the most of any time he has left with his family.