First Dates star Merlin Griffiths battling cancer after heartbreaking diagnosis

First Dates star Merlin Griffiths battling cancer after heartbreaking diagnosis

First Dates bartender Merlin Griffiths has been diagnosed with bowel cancer – after receiving the shock news from doctors six weeks ago.

Dad Merlin, 46, is best known as the barman who greets singletons at the bar on the Channel 4 dating show, and now faces a year of treatment for the cancer.

It comes after doctors informed him he has a 75% chance of living beyond five years.

However, he has revealed he is determined that he "won't let it get the better" of him.

Speaking to the Sunday Mirror, he recalled the moment he had to explain his cancer diagnosis to his seven-year-old daughter Alix.

She apparently asked him if it was bad, to which he responded that although it is very serious, it should be okay due to the success of modern medicine.

Merlin said: "She understands that people can die but I told her cancer comes in different varieties and in different ways too – and that many people come through it."

The star explained that he started getting pain in June, but initially assumed it was caused by scar tissue in his stomach from a car accident he had at the age of 20.

However, medical professionals found a 4.5cm Stage 3 tumour, which Merlin has described as looking like an "alien".

Opening up on his tragic diagnosis, Merlin said: "I thought, as most people must when they get a diagnosis, ‘Oh f***, I’ve got cancer’.

"I also wanted to know, what are my chances of surviving? It’s terrifying – of course I want to live.

"I’ve shed a tear in private. But you can choose ‘to do’ or ‘not to do’. I chose to lead my life as normal, to stick to the facts about it, and to keep putting one step in front of the other."

Merlin is a beloved face on the show, known for making drinks for the singletons as they arrive for their dates, where he often asks them what kind of partner they're looking for.

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Next month (October), the star is set to appear on Stand Up to Cancer Live but had previously kept news of his illness incredibly private.

The TV bartender told his First Dates co-stars a week after he informed his partner Lucile, 40.

He told French maitre d'hotel Fred Sirieix and waiters CiCi Coleman and Grant Urquhart, according to the Mirror.

He told the Mirror that Lucile had been working on the day that he received his heartbreaking diagnosis, and that he called on the way home from the hospital.

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In what must have been emotional scenes for the couple, Merlin told her that he had a malignant tumour which required chemotherapy – and she was understandably highly upset.

The star had checked in to A&E at Horton general Hospital in Oxfordshire and Northampton General Hospital.

Merlin also shared that Fred has been "lovely and encouraging" during his cancer battle, and that CiCi and grant were both shocked.

Merlin added that he wants to remain broadly positive and resilient, but admits that he is "terrified" by the diagnosis.

The Channel 4 bartender is also set on filming another First Dates this year.

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