The father of a family reputed to be the largest in Spain has died aged 56 after a battle with cancer.

José Maria Chema Postigo and his wife Rosa Pich were advised not to have any more children after their second and third died from heart problems – but they went on to have 14 more.

Jack Valero, press officer for Opus Dei in Britain, paid tribute to Postigo on Twitter, saying he and his wife were a “great example of marriage as a way to holiness”.

Mr Valero told the Catholic Herald he had been to visit Postigo in hospital. The nurses said that Mr Postigo was the most accompanied patient they had ever cared for because he was always surrounded by visitors.

Rosa Pich, writing in Spanish on Instagram, said: “God is our Father. He is very good although sometimes we do not understand. An hour ago Chema has gone to Heaven forever, forever, forever… We do not know well what God has prepared for those who are faithful. I want to thank you again for all your support, prayers and affection. If we have managed to bear this situation peacefully, it is because many people have been praying.

“We continue to count on your prayers. Thank you!”

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