A self-employed New York carpenter, who hit a $1 million jackpot on a scratch-off lottery ticket last month, died of cancer just weeks after claiming his prize, according to multiple media reports.
Donald Savastano, 51, died Jan. 26 "after a recent diagnosis of stage 4 cancer," his obituary said.
Savastano stopped at a convenience store on his way to his upstate New York home on Dec. 30 and bought a "Merry Millionaire" ticket.
"Being a self-employed carpenter, I didn’t really have a plan for retirement," the New York lottery quoted Savastano as saying in an announcement. "The money will help with that. I don’t have any other extravagant plans. I’ll buy a new truck, pay off some debt and invest for the future."
"This is going change our lives, to tell you the truth," Savastano told WABC-TV.
Savastano elected to take the lump-sum payment of $661,800, the New York lottery announcement said.
Danielle Scott, an employee at the store where Savastano bought the winning lottery ticket, told WABC that Savastano used the money for a visit to the doctor because he was uninsured. It was then he learned he had cancer, she said.