Starr’s news comes after he was axed from I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here, after producers feared he might die – live on TV.
The 68-year-old who has a history of heart problems was forced to leave the reality TV show based in Australia, after being hospitalised for what was believed to be an allergic reaction shortly after a meal of fermented egg and camel toe.
Starr said the thought of having to leave ITV’s I’m a Celebrity made him feel “sick”, but he had to heed the advice of doctors.
I’m a Celebrity bosses say they couldn’t take the risk that he might keel over again, too.
He will only receive a portion of his fee, after failing to appear in the show until next week’s eliminations.
Starr said: “I wanted to be there until the very end but there’s no use crying over spilt milk.
“ITV’s got a duty of care and it’s only right that the doctors advise them to keep me away from the jungle. It may not happen again but we’ll never know.
“They couldn’t find anything wrong with me physically. They checked me over and couldn’t find anything wrong with me, but told the TV people it’s a risk and that I could be allergic to something in there – and that duty of care ITV has, has to be respected.
“I was sick not to finish the show. The decision’s been made and I have to live with that. I wish everyone on the show all the best. They’re all really nice people and I had a great time in there.”
After taking ill on scene at I’m a Celebrity, Freddie was kept overnight in the Cardiac Care unit at Tweed Heads Hospital in New South Wales. As he left hospital yesterday, looking frail, he smiled and said: “I’m feeling good, thanks.” But later he said he was gutted.
Doctors are still trying to pinpoint what triggered Freddie’s allergic reaction, but have looked at all eventualities – tics, leeches, snake and spider bites, a scrape of bark or twig, or something he ate.
An insider said: “Freddie is clearly not well and life in the jungle is tough. “The last thing we want is for him to get really ill or, heaven forbid, die live on television. It felt irresponsible to allow him back in the jungle.”
Starr is to become a parent with singer, Sophie Lee, 34. The pair began dating last year and friends have confirmed they plan to wed.
He originally told friends she was his carer but a source said: “Sophie’s pregnant. She moved in with Freddie about 18 months ago. She’s very pretty and he must be delighted they’re having a family together.”
Last night, an ITV spokesman confirmed: “Producers of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! have decided that Freddie Starr won’t return to live in the jungle. Freddie has been a terrific contestant. His Bushtucker Trial is one of the stand-out moments in the show’s history and we wish him all the best.”
Freddie, who is planning a stand-up tour next year, said: “I’ll miss everyone in the jungle and whoever wins the competition, I wish them all the luck in the world. I’d love Fatima Whitbread to win.
Meanwhile, two new faces are in the jungle – 80s pop star Sinitta and DJ Pat Sharp. Sinitta, 43, aims to conquer her fear of creepy crawlies to make her kids Magdalena, six, and Zac, five, proud of her.
at, 50, is adamant this is not a desperate attempt to reboot his career.
He said: “I’m not someone who wants to grab the attention and turn into a kind of Jonathan Ross… But if someone says, ‘Wow, you came across well and we’d like to give you a TV show’, I’d be a fool to turn it down.”