Jonnie Irwin – Escape to the Country and A Place in the Sun host dies at 50

Television presenter Jonnie Irwin, who hosted the real estate shows Escape to the Country and A Place in the Sun, has died.

Irwin, 50, was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2020 after the disease spread from his lungs to his brain.

A statement on his Instagram announcing his death said he touched “the lives of so many people with his kindness, warmth and infectious spirit.”

Irwin was initially given six months to live, but he defied the odds and went public with his illness after two years.

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At the time he said he hoped his diagnosis would inspire people to “make the most of every day.”

“It is with great sadness that we share the news of Jonnie’s passing,” read a statement on the account where he often posted updates about his health.

“A truly extraordinary soul, he bravely fought cancer with unwavering strength and courage.”

Freeform Productions, the production company behind A Place in the Sun, said in a statement on . of energy to the show.

“We are going to miss him very much.”

Jasmine Harman, his long-time co-presenter on the Channel 4 show, wrote a tribute on Instagram to the man she shared the screen with for almost two decades, remembering his “incredible ability to connect with people”.

“I have never admired you more than in the last few years, when you faced life with cancer with positivity, determination and a bloody mentality,” she wrote.

“The world is a little darker today without you, but I will always smile when I think of you.”

Meanwhile, several of his fellow Escape to the Country hosts also paid tribute to him: Nicki Chapman said she was “heartbroken”, while Sonali Shah said she felt “very lucky to have met Jonnie”.

Jules Hudson, one of the BBC programme’s longest-serving presenters, said Irwin was the “life and soul” of the Escape to the Country “family”.

The BBC described Irwin as an “extraordinary man and a wonderful presenter”.

“He brought so much warmth and fun to Escape To The Country, where he was a firm favorite not only with viewers but also with the production team,” said BBC daytime show director Rob Unsworth.

“More recently, he did some truly inspiring reporting for Morning Live about his illness, tackling the taboos around end-of-life care and beautifully demonstrating the boundless positivity he brought to everything he did.”

Channel 4 said he helped “make the dreams of many on the show come true and inspired countless viewers to find their own place in the sun”.