Ninja Warrior host Ben Fordham's surprise exit: 'So much pressure'

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Ben Fordham has stepped down as co-host of Ninja Warrior after five seasons in order to focus on his top-rating 2GB breakfast radio program.

The 44-year-old announced the shock news on Wednesday, telling The Daily Telegraph that he made the decision to leave the show for the sake of his 'mental fitness' as well as his family.

Ninja Warrior Australia hosts Rebecca Maddern and Ben Fordham. Photo: Channel Nine.
Ben Fordham has hosted Australian Ninja Warrior alongside Rebecca Maddern since 2017. Photo: Channel Nine.

"I am not going to be hosting Australian Ninja Warrior going forward, because I found that it placed so much pressure on my family and on the breakfast show," he told the publication.

"I've decided that it would be better for me just to focus on the main game, which is breakfast radio," he added.

Ben, a father of three, later took to his Instagram account to reflect on his time on the Channel Nine hit series, which he's co-hosted with Weekend Today star Rebecca Maddern since its 2017 premiere.

"What a wild ride! When I was asked to host @ninjawarriorau I had no idea what I was in for," he wrote.

"I told @jodiespeers [his wife, Jodie Speers] I wanted to do it because it was out of my comfort zone," he added.

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Ben Fordham and Jodie Speers with their three children: son Freddie and daughters Pearl and Marigold. Photo: Instagram/jodiespeers.
Ben with wife Jodie Speers with their three kids: son Freddie and daughters Pearl and Marigold. Photo: Instagram/jodiespeers.

Fond farewell

Ben went on to say that he's 'had a ball' on the show, with the 'best part' being the friendships he's made with Rebecca and sideline commentators Shane Crawford, Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff and Nick Kyrgios.

"This season it was full on. I was working all the way through the night and then going direct to breakfast radio. I’d like to thank @redbull for getting me through," he quipped.

Ben finished up by saying 'all good things must come to an end' and joking that he could now take on the infamously difficult Ninja Warrior course himself.

Over in the comments section, co-host Rebecca gave Ben a fond farewell.

"I already miss you!!!" she wrote.

"Going out on top!" a fan added, while another lamented that the show 'won't be the same' without him.

With Ninja Warrior slated to return for a sixth season in 2022, a replacement for Ben has yet to be announced however AFL legend Shane is tipped to move into the co-hosting chair.

Ben Fordham's cousin with son Luca
Luca had been fighting for his life for almost 11 months and sadly passed away on Saturday. Photo: Instagram/Ben Fordham

Heartbreaking loss

It's been a tough time for Ben Fordham of late. He earlier broke down during his breakfast radio show on 2GB while sharing the heartbreaking loss of his cousin Tori's only son Luca, five.Luca had been at the Children's Hospital at Randwick after suffering a stroke in November last year but sadly passed away on October 2.

"I have a little bit of personal news," Ben began. "Now, I have been steeling myself to say this, but I do have a little bit of personal news involving a little fella called Luca, who I've told you about in recent times. 

"He's my little mate, who is five years of age, and he's the only child of my beautiful cousin Tori. Sadly, Luca passed away over the weekend, and I want to tell you a little bit about what's happened to Luca," he said as he fought back tears.

To put things in layman's terms for his listeners, Ben said Luca suffered a "complete system breakdown" and had been in hospital for the last 11 months fighting for his life.

Taking some time to pause as he teared up, Ben said that he'd been able to see Luca the morning he died. He paid tribute to Tori and the 'incredible' hospital staff for looking after his 'little mate'.

Additional reporting by Marni Dixit.

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