Donald Savastano won a million dollars, or R12 028 000 in early January, at the Merry Millionaire Lottery.
One of the first things that this New Yorker did with his money was to go to a doctor because he hadn’t been feeling well for some time, Buzzfeed News reported.
Unfortunately, the doctor’s prognosis wasn’t good: Donald had stage 4 cancer and he died three weeks later.
His tragic death came less than a month after he became a millionaire after picking a winning New York Lottery scratchcard at a shop in his hometown of Sidney, north of New York City.
According to CBC Radio, Donald didn’t have medical aid and he couldn’t afford to see a specialist earlier.
Donald – a carpenter who worked for himself – had planned to buy a new car, invest in his future and go on holiday with his winnings, reports ABC News.
Danielle Scott, the cashier who sold him the ticket says Donald was extremely excited when he found out he’d hit the jackpot.
“He scanned it on the machine, and then he came over, said he’d won a million dollars and had me look at it. He was excited,” Danielle told Independent.
“He was self-employed, he didn’t have insurance, he hadn’t been feeling good for a while I guess, and when he got the money he went to the doctor.
“He had a friend come and talk to me, and they told me Donald was very sick. He had brain and lung cancer and he was in the hospital, they didn’t think he was going to make it.”
According to his obituary, he is survived by his girlfriend of the past 12 years, Julie Wheeler, as well as his mother, four brothers and two sisters.
“He always tried to reach out and help those he could by teaching them the right way to do things,” the obituary read.
Sources: Buzzfeed News, CBC Radio, Kron 4 News, Dignity Memorial