Jonnie Irwin was given just days to live in May.

Jonnie Irwin is refusing to give up

Jonnie Irwin is refusing to give up

The 49-year-old TV star was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in 2020 - which has since spread to his brain - and had been receiving hospice care earlier this year when doctors told him to go home to be with his family, and he and wife Jess were stunned when he was warned he was unlikely to see twins Rafa and Cormac turn three just weeks later.

Jonnie told The Sun newspaper: "I was in a lot of back pain and very weak. I was spending hours just lying there sleeping and all the signs were there that it could be the end.

“One day, the oncologist, hospice doctors and a couple of nurses came in and started telling me to go home and spend time with my family.

“The penny didn’t drop at first. My ears only heard, ‘You’re going home’ because I was pretty out of it. It was only later I thought, ‘They were telling me I’m done’.”

Jess, 40, added: “I really thought Jonnie was going to die...

“The doctors said, ‘We are sending him home and we’d advise you to spend as much time together as you can’.

“They weren’t as blunt as to give us a date, but when I told them we’d got a big party planned for the twins and asked if we should cancel it, the medics said they didn’t think Jonnie would be there for it.

“It was devastating.”

But the former 'A Place in the Sun' host refused to give up on life.

He said: “It could have been the end, but I thought, ‘No, that’s not me, that’s not happening’.

“When I got home I made myself get out of bed, no matter how bad I felt, and spent time with Jess and the boys.

“Don’t get me wrong, there were times I said to Jess, ‘I think I’m dying’ because I felt too weak to go on."

Jonnie - who also has four-year-old Rex with his wife - started drinking protein shakes to build strength after his weight dropped to just six stone and had his pain relief switched from morphine to fentanyl, as well as spending hours a day in an oxygen tent in a bid to slow the growth of his tumours.

He said: “I won’t let cancer define me.

“A friend of mine told me, ‘Your body achieves what your mind achieves’, and I want to live by that...

“I knew I needed to come off the morphine.

“You have to take control.

“You have to tell the doctors when you’re in pain and when you need an alternative — and I’d advise anyone with cancer to do the same...

“Coming off morphine meant I got some of my appetite back and I started drinking protein shakes and began to regain some weight.”