An upstate New York man who won the Merry Millionaire scratch off lottery for $1million, earlier this month, has died suddenly.
Donald Savastano was recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and died suddenly on Friday.
The Queens, New York, native had claimed his ticket on January 4 after buying the $10 scratch off on a whim.
Savastano claimed the lump sum payment of $661,800.
His death came less than a month after he became a millionaire after picking a winning New York Lottery scratchcard at a shop in his home town of Sidney, a small community around 170 miles north of New York City.
He told the WBNG-TV news channel that he was planning to “buy a new truck, pay off some debt and invest for the future,” with his winnings.
He added: “This is going to change our lives to tell you the truth”.
‘Being a self-employed carpenter, I didn’t really have a plan for retirement,’ the 51-year-old self-employed carpenter explained to WBNG-TV at the time.
‘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.’
Danielle Scott, the cashier who sold him the ticket, said:
“He scanned it on the machine here, um and then he came over, said that he had won a million dollars and had me look at it, and yeah he was excited”.
Ms Scott said a friend of his came and told her that Mr Savastano was very ill in hospital.
”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 into the doctor”.
“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 going to make it.”
Savastano grew up on Long Island and learned the carpenter trade from his dad, according to an obituary published on Sunday by Lester R. Grummons FUneral Home in Oneonta.
The man had been living in Sidney, New York, for the past 10 years with girlfriend, Julie Wheeler, and her two sons.
He is survived by a mother, two sisters and four brothers.
The obituary included a special thanks to Bassett Hospital and Tri-Town ER for taking care of the man in his last days. It also mentioned that he had been on jospice care for a few days, before passing.
The funeral home will be having calling hours on January 30 from 6-8pm.
His family ask that donations be made to the American Cancer Society.