The TV presenter fell ill in the early hours of Thursday morning, and was subsequently taken to hospital “as a precaution”.
In a statement, he’s assured his supporters that he’s “absolutely fine”, but will not be permitted to return to the show after leaving camp due to Covid restrictions.
“Firstly just to say that I’m absolutely FINE,” he said. “I started to feel briefly unwell in the small hours of the morning and was taken to hospital as a precaution.
“By leaving the camp, I had consequently broken the Covid ‘bubble’ and as such I’ve had to leave the castle and all the wonderful celebs that remain in the camp.”
He added: “Obviously I’m gutted to be leaving so soon but the safety of all the campmates is the number one priority. I’m incredibly excited to watch their journey continue… even more so at the prospect of being somewhere a little warmer than Gwrych Castle…
“Thank you to everyone who supported me on my brief but completely unforgettable adventure – I’ve made some great friends and honestly had the time of my life.”
An ITV spokesperson confirmed: “Our strict Covid protocols means Richard has sadly had to leave the show as he is no longer in the bubble the celebrities form when entering the castle. He has been a truly brilliant campmate and we thank him for being part of this series.”
ITV has also said producers have no plans to replace Richard with any stand-in contestants.
Richard has recorded a video message to be played to the rest of the celebrities to let them know he’s OK, and will be interviewed by Ant and Dec in Friday night’s episode of I’m A Celebrity.
The former This Morning star’s exit comes as producers have just unveiled two new campmates.
Soap legends Simon Gregson and Adam Woodyatt – long serving cast members of Coronation Street and EastEnders, respectively – have now made their way into the castle as late arrivals.