In 2004, Ben Van Houten became somewhat of a celebrity after he and his wife Amy became the proud parents of Michigan's first surviving sextuplets. Now the family is in mourning. As reported by The Grand Rapids Press yesterday, Ben Van Houten died after suffering a sudden heart attack. The 39-year-old had just finished setting up a trampoline for his children.
A birth in Michigan in 2004 made headlines and TV spots in all of the major media companies. The reason was that a couple, Ben and Amy Van Houten, delivered the state's first surviving sextuplets.
Throughout the years, the proud parents posed for news outlets and took pictures with their six children Gerrit, John, Nolan, Peyton, Sammy and Kennedy. But now, the joy has turned into sorrow.
Ben Van Houten's heart attack and subsequent death is a tragedy that has shaken the state and left his wife, Amy, alone with the now 10-year-old sextuplets and their 7-year-old younger sister.
"Just to know Ben for even one day would be a blessing,” his father-in-law, Calvin Reimink, told media outlets. “He was always spending time with the kids,” Reimink added. Strangely, Ben Van Houten's father also died of a heart attack at age 40.
The Van Houten family is of Dutch descent, and became famous in 2004 when Amy, in three days, brought six children (four boys and two girls) into the world. The babies came early, three months, but they all remained alive. Two of the boys suffer from cerebral palsy and are severely handicapped and need intensive care, according to the NY Daily News.
Undoubtedly, the sudden death of Ben Van Houten is a great loss for the family. Ben Van Houten served as a deacon at his church, Calvary Baptist. The family lived in the Holland area in western Michigan and he and his wife were active participants in Calvary’s children’s ministry. Every summer, the couple faithfully served as Calvary’s Awana directors, and were heavily involved in Calvary’s Vacation Bible School program.“He lived for the Lord,” Reimink said. “He put God first and his family second.”