A PLACE In The Sun bosses have responded to claims they axed terminally ill presenter Jonnie Irwin after he revealed his cancer diagnosis.
The 49-year-old told The Sun he was paid off mid-series and his contract not renewed.
In a statement released today, a spokesman for Freeform Productions insisted the reason for his departure was related to “insurance cover”.
“Jonnie has been a hugely important part of the A Place in The Sun family for over 18 years and all of us were deeply saddened by his diagnosis,” the spokesman said.
“Much loved by everyone on the production, no stone was left unturned in trying to enable Jonnie to continue his international filming with us during Covid but the production company were unable to secure adequate insurance cover for him.”
They added to the Mirror: “Whilst we were unable to continue to film abroad with him, we’re delighted that he was able to remain as part of our team in the UK for exhibitions.
“We of course understand how frustrating this must be for him at this incredibly difficult time.”
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Jonnie was given just six months to live when he was diagnosed with lung cancer, which had spread to his brain, in August 2020.
Medication, radiotherapy and chemo have kept him alive. He had been filming A Place In The Sun in Italy when he became ill — and says producers paid him off and failed to renew his contract after he told them he had cancer.
Dad-of-three Jonnie said: “That broke my heart.”
“As soon as I told A Place In The Sun about my diagnosis they paid me for the rest of the season but didn’t renew my contract. They knew I wanted to carry on.
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“That hurt. That broke my heart. I feel hugely let down. I can’t even watch the show now.”
Jonnie has not stopped working throughout the months of gruelling treatment, filming for Escape To The Country as well as working on commercial projects.
TV star Jonnie Irwin has spoken of his despair at the thought of leaving behind his wife and young children.
The former A Place In The Sun host filled up as he talked about wife Jess, three-year-old son Rex and two-year-old twins Cormac and Rafa.
Now thin and stripped of his blond hair by chemotherapy, he said: “As soon as people find out you’ve got cancer they write you off. Yes, I have stage four and it’s terminal — but not yet, so let me live my life while I can.”