TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — An 84-year-old Florida woman who bought her Powerball ticket after another customer let her get ahead in line came forward Wednesday to claim the $590 million jackpot, becoming the largest sole lottery winner in U.S. history.
Gloria C. Mackenzie, of Zephyrhills, where the winning ticket was sold May 18, took a single lump sum payment of just over $370 million, Florida Lottery officials said. After paying 25 percent for federal income taxes, Mackenzie is taking home about $270 million, officials said.
She did not speak to a crowd of reporters outside lottery headquarters, leaving quickly in a silver Ford Focus with her son, Scott Mackenzie, and family friends. She was accompanied by two unidentified attorneys, who left in a separate car.
MacKenzie bought the winning ticket at a Publix supermarket, a town of about 13,300 people located 30 miles northeast of Tampa. It is best known for bottled spring water that bears its name — and now one of the biggest lottery winners of all time.
In a statement read by lottery officials, Mackenzie said she purchased the ticket after another buyer “was kind enough to let me go ahead in line to purchase the winning ticket.” Mackenzie played a quick-pick ticket, in which the numbers are generated randomly by lottery computers. She said she also purchased four other tickets for the same drawing.
“We are grateful with this blessing of winning the Florida Lottery Powerball jackpot. We appreciate the interest from the public, state of Florida and the lottery,” the statement said. “We hope that everyone would give us the opportunity to maintain our privacy for our family’s benefit.”
The winner had 60 days from the May 18 drawing to claim the lump sum. Lottery spokesman David Bishop said Mackenzie, her lawyers and financial adviser were very prepared when they arrived, spending about two hours going through the necessary paperwork.
“They had clearly been preparing for this. They took all this time to get everything in order,” Bishop said.
Minutes after the announcement, a dozen reporters in Zephyrhills were camped outside Mackenzie’s modest grey duplex, which backs up to a dirt alley and is across from a cow pasture.
Neighbors were surprised and said Mackenzie never mentioned her big win.
“She didn’t say anything about it. She’s so quiet and secluded. She’s usually in the house,” said neighbor James Hill. “I’m very happy for her. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer person. She was always pleasant and smiling.”
Another neighbor, Don Cecil, joked “I hope she gets a better place to live.”
Mackenzie’s neighbors offered few details about her life, including how long she’d lived there and whether she was married. They said she mostly kept to herself, but they saw her take short walks along the street and exchanged pleasantries with her.
Mackenzie’s house, which was situated among mostly mobile home and pre-fabricated houses, had a chain link fence with grey shutters, a tin sheet roof and an old TV antenna.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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