Jonnie Irwin celebrated his 50th birthday at the weekend, a year after he revealed that he had been diagnosed terminal lung cancer. The A Place in the Sun frontman revealed last November that he was given the life-changing news back in August 2020, with doctors telling him that he had developed lung cancer which had spread to his brain.
They gave him just months to live at the time, but more than three years later he continues to challenge the disease – celebrating five decades on Earth in Spain, with his wife Jess and three young sons Rex, Rafa and Cormac. Speaking to HELLO! Jonnie said: ” I never thought I’d be here for this, so I’m chuffed to bits.
“I feel really privileged to be able to celebrate my birthday looking at blue skies and with sand between my toes. I had an early birthday party at the start of the year because I didn’t think I’d make it. It was like being at my own wake; lots of fun, lots of dancing. But here I am. I view it as a complete triumph.”
Jonnie referred to celebrations which took place in March this year, hosting around 170 loved ones from all over the world. Speaking at the time, he said: “It was a great night. I chose a playlist with some great tunes from the 90s and 2000s and people came from all over the country and abroad.
“I didn’t know the extent of the loyalty and generosity that my friends would exhibit. I’ve been dumbfounded and spellbound by their support, as well as that of our families, who have been amazing. I just wanted to do something to celebrate my birthday and had no idea how many people would actually turn up. It was incredible.”
Since his devastating diagnosis three years ago, Jonnie has been committed to making the most of his time with family and friends, constantly taking to social media to share their adventures.
Speaking to HELLO! he added: “Every little thing is so valuable to me, even kicking the ball against the wall for half hour. It’s so special and being away with my wife and kids for my 50th is brilliant.”
He took a knock recently however, being hospitalised with jaundice and a possible infection for a weekend earlier this month. Taking to Instagram November 13, he shared a photo from a hospital bed – writing: “Back in hospital – been in since Friday with Jaundice. I had a fever and acute stabbing pain in my right hand side.
“Turns out I probably had an infection and otter issues which I won’t bore you with. Been on drips, regular bloods taken and have observations every 4 ours through day and night. Didn’t think I’d be watching @bbcmorninglive from a hospital bed but it’s just part of the roller coaster life that this illness throws at you I must admit I was especially touched by the birthday message from the the team for my birthday this coming Friday- thanks very much. X.
“I have another scan today followed by a meeting with my oncologist so fingers crossed for positive news.”
He would later update fans that he was discharged from hospital, citing how blood tests showed how his ‘liver function is heading in the right direction’ – before flying to Spain the very next day for the big birthday celebrations. He added: “Well the blood tests and scans today show my liver function is heading in the right direction There’s bigger issues we will have to confront in a couple of weeks but for now I’m allowed home.
“I’m taking the small win for now. Rex tried to stay up to welcome me home but couldn’t quite stay awake bless him, although Reggie and Ronnie were wide awake so I got to them a story. Big big thanks to all the doctors and nurses who looked after me I’m so grateful to be home.”
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