A New York man who won $1 million from a scratch-off lottery ticket died just weeks after claiming his prize.
According to WABC, 51-year-old Donald Savastano, a Queens native who was living upstate in Sidney, played the New York Lottery's "Merry Millionaire" game and won $1 million at the beginning of January.
"This is going to change our lives, to tell you the truth," Savastano said after claiming his winnings.
Savastano, a self-employed carpenter, shared his plans after picking up his prize. He said that most of it would go toward funding his retirement.
"I'm probably going to go get a new truck and I don't know probably go on vacation," he said.
Another part of his plan was to use his money to go to the doctor, as he previously could not afford to go.
"He was self-employed," said Danielle Scott, who worked at the store at which Savastano purchased his winning ticket. "He didn't have insurance, he hadn't been feeling good for a while, I guess, and when he got the money he went into the doctor."
Unfortunately, when he did finally go to the doctor, he received some bad news.
"He had a friend come and talk to me, and they told me that he was very sick and that he had brain and lung cancer and that he was in the hospital and they didn't think he was gonna make it," Scott said.
She added, "I was hoping that the money was maybe going to save his life."
Savastano died just three weeks after claiming his winnings from stage 4 cancer.
Savastano's obituary said that he was born in Queens and grew up on Long Island, according to the Independent. He became a carpenter after working with his father as a child.
His obituary said that he worked for several commercial companies before moving to Sidney and launching a successful career as a self-employed carpenter.
"He was known for his high-quality work and perfectionism," the obituary read. "He always tried to reach out and help those he could by teaching them 'the right way to do things.'"
Readers of the Independent shared their thoughts on the story.
"Sounds like a great guy; one of the quiet heroes who live and act with personal integrity, and are additive to society," one reader commented. "Sucks that he didn't get to enjoy being out of debt with a little free cash to spend for very long."
"Rather, it sucks that he couldn't afford to seek medical help for his own illness until he happened to win the lottery," another user wrote. "I love the USA, but I feel sad for its people because of their third world approach to health'care.'"