Justo Gallego, the man who for 60 years had been building a cathedral out of scrap materials on the outskirts of Madrid, had died at the age of 96.
The former monk died over the weekend, but left the still unfinished temple in the village of Mejorada del Campo near the commuter town of Coslada to a Catholic charity, to complete the work.
Gallego began the project in 1961 when he was in his mid-30s on land inherited from his family after a bout of tuberculosis forced him to leave an order of Trappist monks, which he had joined at the age of 18.
Today, the “Cathedral of Justo” features a crypt, two cloisters and 12 towers spread over 4,700 square metres, although the central dome still does not have a cover.
He used old bricks, dead wood and other discarded material scavenged from old building sites, as well as through donations that began to arrive once the project became better known.
He named the building to the Virgin of Our Lady of the Pillar, which has a strong association with Spain.
Although the Catholic Church has not recognised his work as a place of worship, it does have all its civil registry and safety regulation papers in order and will not be demolished.
In recent years, Justo´s church has been the subject of international attention and was even featured in the MOMA museum of New York.
In addition he had a steady stream of visitors from across the world who brought donations to help complete the project.
The village council of Mejorada del Campo, have announced three days of official mourning in honour of their most famous son.
He left the building to the Messengers of Peace charity to complete the work.