$552 million Mega Millions winner takes home prize in Illinois: It still feels unreal

ILLINOIS — The winner of Illinois' $552 million Mega Millions lottery prize has come forward to claim his money, the largest jackpot ever won playing the game online in U.S. history.

“I was going through my emails when I saw one from the Illinois Lottery saying to check my numbers because I had won a prize,” the winner, who wished to remain anonymous, said in a lottery news release. “In the past, I've won $2 here or $5 there, so I assumed it would be similar.”

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“You can't imagine my shock and disbelief when I saw I had won the $552 million jackpot. I actually closed the app and then logged back in to double check it was real. It was actually real – but it still feels unreal!”

The winner matched the June 4 jackpot numbers: 19, 37, 40, 63, 69 and 17. It was the ninth-largest Mega Millions win in the game's history and the second-largest won in Illinois. A ticket purchased at a Des Plaines gas station in July 2022 won a jackpot of $1.337 billion, the largest lottery prize ever won in the state.

According to Mega Millions, last week's jackpot will be $260.2 million in cash.

“I grew up with a single mother and throughout my childhood she had to work two jobs to provide for our family, put food on the table and give us an education,” the winner said in the press release.

“I am a hard worker. I have worked as a labourer all my life and when I had a decent income, I asked my mother to retire and let me take care of her. It was my way of thanking her for how much she sacrificed for us. I have not yet told her about this life-changing stroke of luck, but when I do, we will all shed a few tears of joy.”

The lucky winner plans to retire early and enjoy life with his family.

Anna Harden

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