Les and Helen Brown may truly have been a match made in heaven. The couple, former residents of Long Beach in California, were born on the same day and died 24 hours apart.

They were married for 75 years and died aged 94. They were born on 31 December 1918.

According to local newspaper Press-Telegram, Helen Brown died of stomach cancer on 16 July, while Les Brown died of Parkinson's disease the following day.

"It was a real love match, wasn't it," Les Jr, the couple's elder son, said. "They were together every day for 75 years."

"My mum often said she didn't want to see my father die, and he didn't want to live without her," said Daniel, the second son.

Quite apart from the coincidence of their birth and death, the couple's courtship was like a romantic novel; the two met at the Huntington Park High School when they were in their teens, and married against the wishes of their respective families. He came from a wealthy family, while she was a working-class child.

The sons describe their parents' relationship as based on give-and-take, and agree they were made for each other.

Apparently, Helen was the strict parent and Les the easy-going and laid-back one, but both channelled all their energies into the marriage and their children. A typical day in the life of the family included prayer sessions at the local Kingdom Hall.

A joint service for Helen and Les is scheduled for Saturday.