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Father of Michigan's first surviving set of sextuplets dies at 39 while playing with kids

  • Obit-Sextuplets Dad.JPEG

    In this photo taken in January 2006, Ben Van Houten keeps a close watch on his sons and daughters as they eat their cupcakes, celebrating their second birthdays in Holland, Mich. The children are, from back to front: Samantha, Kennedy, Peyton, Nolan, John and Gerrit. A relative says Ben Van Houten suffered a fatel heart attack Wednesday night, April 9, 2014, after setting up a trampoline at his home in the Holland-area in western Michigan. The father of Michigan's first surviving set of sextuplets was 39. (AP Photo/The Grand Rapids Press, Cory Olsen) ALL LOCAL TV OUT; LOCAL TV INTERNET OUT (The Associated Press)

  • 7473de12182bf70e500f6a7067009752.jpg

    In this photo taken on Jan. 21, 2005, Ben Van Houten looks back to make sure his wife Amy and the rest of their sextuplets are following close behind while arriving for a Hamilton High School girls volleyball game in Hamilton, Mich. A relative says Ben Van Houten suffered a fatel heart attack Wednesday night, April 9, 2014, after setting up a trampoline at his home in the Holland-area in western Michigan. The father of Michigan's first surviving set of sextuplets was 39. (AP Photo/The Grand Rapids Press, Cory Olsen) ALL LOCAL TV OUT; LOCAL TV INTERNET OUT (The Associated Press)

The 39-year-old father of Michigan's first surviving set of sextuplets suffered a heart attack and died after setting up a trampoline for his children, a relative said.

Ben Van Houten died Wednesday night, said Sue Herweyer of Dykstra Life Story Funeral Homes in Holland.

Van Houten lived in the Holland area in western Michigan. In 2004, his wife, Amy, gave birth to six children over three days at a Grand Rapids hospital. They're now 10 years old, and they have a 7-year-old sister.

"Just to know Ben for even one day would be a blessing," father-in-law Calvin Reimink told The Grand Rapids Press (http://bit.ly/1mZiDkD ).

Reimink said Van Houten set up a trampoline in his yard and was playing with his children when the heart attack occurred. Van Houten's father died of heart problems at age 40.

"He was always spending time with the kids," Reimink said of his son-in-law.

The sextuplets were tiny at birth: the largest was only 2 pounds, 1 ounce. Two have cerebral palsy.

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