An 84-year-old woman from Zephyrhills, the biggest single lottery winner in U.S. history, said she bought her ticket from a supermarket after a fellow customer allowed her to go first.
Gloria C. Mackenzie won the record-setting $590.5 million Poweball jackpot and has elected to receive the winnings in a one-time lump sum payment of about $370 million before taxes.
She didn't want to speak during a press conference. The jackpot was won from the May 18 drawing.
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In a statement read by Lottery Secretary Cynthia O'Connell, Mackenzie said she bought the ticket at a Publix supermarket, located at 7838 Gall Boulevard, as a Quick Pick, and the person in line in front of her allowed her move ahead. She had bought five tickets in total.
Before the drawing, Mackenzie and her son Scott agreed they would split any winnings with each other, the lottery said.
"We are grateful for this blessing of winning the Florida Lottery Powerball Jackpot and appreciate the interest of the public, state of Florida and the Lottery. We hope that everyone will give an opportunity to maintain our privacy for our family's benefit," said the statement read by O'Connell.
O'Connell said it was the largest jackpot ever offered in the game's 21-year history, and because the jackpot was won by one person, it was the largest winning lottery ticket ever in American lottery history.
Neighbors of Mackenzie, who lives in a modest grey duplex across from a cow pasture, were surprised to hear that she had won. They say she never mentioned it. One neighbor says, "It couldn't have happened to a nicer person."
Another says, "I hope she gets a better place to live."
NBC News said she came to the lottery offices with her son, who is an attorney from Jacksonville. Mackenzie said she had watched the drawing and knew she had won but had been getting her affairs in order, NBC News said.
"We are all about making dreams come true here at the Florida Lottery and these few weeks have been a time of great excitement for Mrs. Mackenzie and Zephyrhills community and all of Florida," O'Connell said. "We are thrilled that a Florida resident has won this jackpot and them a lifetime of happiness with their new fortune."
(above) photo of the winner's home.
The retailer received a bonus incentive of $85,000.
"This series of jackpot rollovers generated more than $125 million in sales for the Florida Lottery, resulting in more than $50 million for Florida's Educational Enhancement Trust Fund," the lottery said in a statement.