Jonnie Irwin’s A Place in the Sun co-stars lead tributes to the TV presenter after his death aged 50

Virgin Radio

3 Feb 2024, 09:52

Jonnie Irwin

Credit: Getty / Rex

Tributes have been flooding in for TV presenter Jonnie Irwin, who has sadly died aged 50. 

Jonnie, best known for hosting A Place in the Sun from 2004 to 2021, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2020, and while he had originally kept his condition private, he revealed in November 2022 that the cancer had spread to his brain. He then bravely continued to share his experience of living with his cancer diagnosis on social media and in TV appearances discussing his condition. 

News of the TV star's death was confirmed on Friday via Instagram by Jonnie’s wife Jessica, in a post that read: “It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of Jonnie’s passing. A truly remarkable soul, he fought bravely against cancer with unwavering strength and courage. Jonnie touched the lives of so many with his kindness, warmth, and infectious spirit.

“At this time, we kindly ask for the privacy of Jonnie’s family as they navigate through this profound loss. Their grief is immeasurable, and your thoughts, prayers, and support are deeply appreciated."

The post continued: “Jonnie may be gone from our sight, but his love, laughter, and memories will live on.”

Since then, tributes from across the TV industry have been pouring in, with his A Place in the Sun co-stars leading the heartbreaking messages. 

Scarlette Douglas, who hosted the Channel 4 series from 2015 to 2022, shared a smiling photo of Jonnie, and wrote in the caption: “May the sun always shine on you Jonnie. RIP.”

Meanwhile, Jasmine Harman, who hosted over 200 episodes of A Place in the Sun alongside Jonnie, posted her own lengthy tribute on the social media platform, and reminisced about the first time they met on the series. 

Jasmine’s emotional statement read;  “You were so charismatic and energetic, so confident and fun. I understood immediately why they had to have you.

“Your cheeky-chappy persona and naughty sense of humour always broke the ice and made people laugh. Everyone warmed to you and you had the incredible ability to connect with people, making them feel like they’d known you for years.”

She added: “Jonnie, you’ve taught me so much in our time as work colleagues and as good friends. I have never admired you more than over the last few years as you’ve faced life with cancer with positivity, determination and bloody mindedness. I’ve never known anyone as strong as you. You have done yourself, your loved ones and all of us proud.”

Elsewhere, a spokesperson for A Place In The Sun shared on Instagram: “We are heartbroken. Jonnie was a much-loved part of A Place in the Sun family for more than 18 years - he brought joy, wit and bundles of energy to the show. We will miss him terribly. Our thoughts are with Jess and the boys and the rest of the family.”

Meanwhile, ITV star Nicki Chapman paid tribute to Jonnie, writing on the announcement post: “Heartbroken. Sending love to Jess & the family.”

Jonnie found a home in renovation telly after working as a property and business consultant, and continued to work on properties well into his diagnosis, regularly sharing updates on his social media. 

Outside of Channel 4, he worked on the BBC’s Escape to the Country, and To Buy or Not to Buy, as well as Dream Lives for Sale for Sky and The Renovation Game. 

Head of BBC Daytime Rob Unsworth described Jonnie as an “extraordinary man and a wonderful presenter”. The official statement from the BBC Press Office read: “He brought such warmth and fun to Escape to the Country, where he was a firm favourite with not just viewers but the production team too. 

“More recently, he did some truly inspirational reports for Morning Live about his illness, tackling taboos around end of life care and wonderfully demonstrating the limitless positivity that he brought to everything he did. His kindness will be hugely missed by everyone he worked with, and we are sending all our thoughts to his family and friends at this sad time.”

The thoughts of everyone at Virgin Radio go out to Jonnie’s family and friends.