A 76-year-old man believed to be the head of the world’s largest family has died in India’s Mizoram state.
Ziona Chana, the head of a religious sect that practised polygamy, died on Sunday, leaving behind 38 wives, 89 children and 36 grandchildren.
The news was confirmed by Mizoram’s chief minister, Zoramthanga, who offered his condolences on Twitter “with a heavy heart”.
“With heavy heart, Mizoram bid farewell to Mr. Zion-a (76), believed to head the world’s largest family, with 38 wives and 89 children….Rest in Peace sir,” Zoramthanga tweeted.
Chana reportedly suffered from diabetes and hypertension.
Doctors told PTI news agency that Chana’s condition deteriorated at home in his village, Baktawng Tlangnuam. He was admitted to hospital on Sunday evening, where he was declared dead on arrival.
It’s hard to say if Chana was indeed the head of the world’s largest family since there are others who claim the title.
It’s also hard to estimate the exact size of Chana’s family. At least one report claims he had 39 wives, 94 children, 33 grandchildren and one great-grandchild, which adds up to 181 people.
While various local news reports have referred to him as holding the “world record” for such a large family, it’s unclear which global record it is. It has also been widely reported that the family has been featured twice on the popular TV show Ripley’s Believe it or Not.
But world record or not, Chana and his family are a local sensation of sorts, attracting tourists to their village in India’s north-east.