A man thought to have been the head of the world’s largest family — with 39 wives and 94 children, according to Reuters — has died in northeast India, according to officials.
Ziona Chana, 76, the head of a local Christian sect that allows polygamy, died on Sunday, the chief minister of the state of Mizoram in the northeast of the country announced via Twitter.
Chana lived with his family in a vast, four-story pink structure with around 100 rooms in Baktawng, a remote village that became a tourist attraction, according to Zoramthanga, the chief minister who goes by one name said on Monday.
According to Reuters, the sect, named “Chana,” was founded by Chana’s grandfather in 1942 and counts hundreds of families as members. Chana married his first wife when he was 17, and claimed he once married ten wives in a single year.
While illegal, polygamy is practiced in some communities in India.
The wives shared a dormitory near his private bedroom, and locals had told Reuters that he liked to have seven or eight of them by his side at all times.
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Despite his family’s huge size, Chana told Reuters in a 2011 interview he wanted to grow it even bigger.
“I am ready to expand my family and willing to go to any extent to marry,” he said. “I have so many people to care for and look after, and I consider myself a lucky man.”
The BBC reported that with a total of 167 members, the clan was named the world’s largest family by “Ripley’s Believe It or Not,” although this depends on whether you count the grandchildren, of whom Chana has 33.