Jonnie Irwin has accused A Place In The Sun bosses of kicking him off the show as soon as he told them he was dying.
The TV presenter claims he was paid by producers when he revealed his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer midway through the series, but then his contract was not renewed.
The father-of-three told the Sun: “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 continue.”
“That hurt. That broke my heart. I feel so let down. I can’t even watch the show right now.”
He said that despite assuring producers that he could get notes from his oncologist saying he was fit to work, he was still turned down and told he couldn’t continue.
A statement from production company Freeform said: “Jonnie has been a hugely important part of the A Place in The Sun family for over 18 years and we were all deeply saddened by his diagnosis. Much loved by all on the production, no stone was left unturned left to try and enable Jonnie to continue his international filming with us during Covid, but the production company was unable to secure adequate insurance cover for him.
“While we were unable to continue filming abroad with him, we are delighted that he was able to continue to be part of our team in the UK for exhibitions. We understand, of course, how frustrating this must be for him at this incredibly difficult time . .”
The 49-year-old, who is now in constant pain due to liver problems caused by chemotherapy, first realized something was wrong while filming A Place In The Sun in Italy when his vision became blurry while driving.
“Within a week of flying back from filming, I was given six months to live,” he said.
“I had to go home and tell my wife, who was taking care of our babies, that she was pretty much on her own. That was terrible.
“All I could do was apologize to her. I felt so responsible.”
Irwin, who shares three-year-old son Rex and two-year-old twins Rafa and Cormac with his wife Jessica, now says one of his biggest fears is that his sons won’t remember him when he’s gone.
He revealed that he now struggles to enjoy happy moments with his family as he can’t shake the feeling that he “won’t be around for long”.
“Then I guess they won’t remember me,” he said. “They are too young and if I die this year there is no chance they will have any memories.”
Irwin doesn’t know how long he has after the lung cancer spread to his brain.
He had chosen to keep his illness private until recently, but has now decided to speak out to dispel some myths surrounding cancer and help people with “life-limiting prospects”.