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 practiced polygamy, died on Sunday, leaving behind 38 wives, 89 children and 36 grandchildren. Chana reportedly suffered from diabetes and hypertension. Chana’s condition deteriorated at home in his village, Baktawng Tlangnuam. He was rushed to hospital on Sunday evening, where he was declared dead on arrival.
Zion-a’s four-storey mansion at Baktawng is a major tourist attraction. 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’ in 2011 and 2013. Chief minister Zoramthanga, state Congress chief Lal Thanhawla and Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) leader Lalduhoma have condoled Zion-a’s death. “With heavy heart, Mizoram bid farewell to Mr Zion-a (76), believed to head the world’s largest family…Rest in Peace Sir,” the chief minister tweeted.