Ben Van Houten, father of the first surviving sextuplets in Michigan, died of a sudden heart attack at the age of 39 on Wednesday, a family member reported.
The relative said that the father of seven died on Wednesday, after putting together a trampoline for the 10-year-old sextuplets and the couple’s seven-year-old, in the family’s backyard. Van Houten was playing with his kids when he suffered the fatal heart attack.
In 2004, Ben and Amy Van Houten made national news, when she gave birth to the first sextuplets to survive in Michigan. Amy gave birth over three days at a Cedar Rapids hospital.
Calvin Reimink — Ben Van Houten’s father-in-law told The Grand Rapids Press, “Just to know Ben for even one day would be a blessing. He was always spending time with the kids.”
Sue Herweyer of Dykstra Life Story Funeral Homes confirmed the news and said that arrangements were being made for a funeral.
“He thought the sun rose and set on those kids,” said Reimink, “They couldn’t have had a better father than him,”
The father of the sextuplets had a family history of heart problems and Van Houten’s own father died of a heart attack at the age of 40, his father-in-law said.
The Van Houten sextuplets are made up of four boys and two girls, two of them suffer from cerebral palsy and have special needs. The Van Houten’s seven-year-old is a girl.
According to Reminik, the Van Houtens are devout Baptist and are relying on their faith and church for support at this very difficult time.
Ben Van Houten worked at a German engineering services firm and his wife Amy was too busy to work outside the home and took care of the sextuplets and their sister. She will have a hard time taking care of seven children on her own, as her husband was a very involved father, Reminik said.
The Van Houten sextuplets became overnight sensations when they were born in 2004 and the media has followed their progress through the years and watched them as they grew.
“He was the most selfless person I’ve ever met. He was just a servant, through and through. Every fiber,” Van Houten’s wife of 15 years said in a statement through their church.
[Image via WOOD TV 8/Twitter]