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Elderly woman wins big lottery

Mackenzie claims the largest single jackpot in American lottery history in Tallahassee

Gloria MacKenzie with her winnings.

TALLAHASSEE — An 84-year-old Florida woman claimed last month’s record Powerball jackpot yesterday and opted to take a lump-sum payment of nearly US $371 million, Florida Lottery officials said.

Winner Gloria MacKenzie of Zephyrhills, central Florida, chose the lump sum rather than collecting US $590.5 million in 30 annual payments, Florida Lottery Secretary Cynthia O’Connell said in a news conference at the state lottery headquarters in Tallahassee.

MacKenzie bought the only $2 ticket that matched all six winning numbers in the May 18 multistate Powerball drawing, making her the largest sole jackpot winner in US lottery history.

She wore dark sunglasses and linked arms with her son, Scott MacKenzie, as she walked through a phalanx of cameras facing straight ahead. She left the lottery office without saying anything but left behind a statement to be read by O’Connell.

MacKenzie said she and her son had an agreement to split any winnings. She bought the winning ticket at a Publix grocery store after previously buying four other tickets, her statement said.

“While in line at Publix, another lottery player was kind enough to let me go ahead of them in line to purchase the winning Quick Pick ticket,” she said.

“We are grateful for this blessing of winning the Florida Lottery Powerball jackpot and appreciate the interest of the public, the State of Florida and the lottery.”

She asked for privacy and referred any further inquiries to her lawyer and her financial adviser.

MacKenzie lived in a small blue-gray concrete block duplex surrounded by oak trees, mobile home parks and across from a cow pasture. She was not home on yesterday but her tan four-door Taurus sat in the yard.

No one knew she had won until news crews started lining up on their small country road yesterday afternoon. (Reuters)

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