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South Carolina lottery winner claims record $877 million cash prize

(Reuters) – The anonymous sole winner of a $1.5 billion U.S. Mega Millions drawing last fall has come forward to claim the jackpot, choosing to collect a record one-time cash sum of more than $877 million, South Carolina’s lottery commission said on Monday.

The winning Quick Pick Mega Millions ticket for the Oct. 23 drawing was purchased at a KC Mart convenience store in Simpsonville, South Carolina, officials said.

The victorious player has opted not to be publicly identified, with lottery officials describing the winner only as a “South Carolinian.”

But in a fortuitous gesture recounted by lottery officials, the lucky contestant had allowed a fellow customer at the KC Mart to jump ahead in line to buy a ticket just before the winning ticket was sold.

“A simple act of kindness led to an amazing outcome,” at the commission said in a statement announcing that a winner had come forward.

The buyer of the winning ticket beat the odds of 1 in 303 million to win the drawing for a grand prize of $1.537 billion, just short of a word record Powerball jackpot of $1.586 billion in January 2016.

But the cash option payment chosen by the South Carolina Mega Millions winner amounts to a lump-sum total of $877,784,124 – the largest jackpot payout to a single winner in U.S. history, the state lottery commission said.

The winner could otherwise have elected to accept the full amount of the jackpot paid out in installments over 29 years.

The KC Mart in Simpsonville will receive a $50,000 prize for selling the claimed lucky ticket, and the state of South Carolina stands to collect $61 million in income taxes from the winner.

The triumphant Mega Millions contender has retained a New York lawyer, Jason Kurland, who specializes in representing lottery winners, and a news conference is to be held following completion of the payment process in the near future, the commission said. Kurland could not immediately be reached for comment.

In the four days leading up to the drawing, about 370 million of the $2 Mega Millions tickets were sold in 44 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In South Carolina, state lawmakers have appropriated more than $5.4 billion in lottery proceeds for education since its inception there in 2002.

Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Alistair Bell

The anonymous sole winner of a $1.5 billion U.S. Mega Millions drawing last fall has come forward to claim the jackpot, choosing to collect a record one-time cash sum of more than $877 million, South Carolina's lottery commission said on Monday.

$1.5 billion Mega Millions winner decided to buy ticket while on a ‘scenic drive’

The payout is the largest to a single winner in U.S. history.

Winner claims $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot

The $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot winner came across her history-making lottery prize when she decided to go on a scenic drive during down-time on a trip to Greenville, South Carolina, her attorney said.

That’s when she drove past a KC Mart, and when its signs about the jackpot caught her eye, she stopped in to buy a ticket, Jason Kurland, the attorney, said in a Thursday statement.

“After checking her ticket the morning after the drawing, she was in complete shock and disbelief,” Kurland said. “She stared motionless at the ticket for what felt like hours, then came the jumping and screams of joy.”

Words can’t describe the feeling of such incredible luck.

The sole winner of the $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot from October 2018 came forward to claim her prize last week.

The winner, a South Carolina woman who chose to remain anonymous, selected the cash option of a one-time payment of $877,784,124. The payout is the largest to a single winner in U.S. history.

“Words can’t describe the feeling of such incredible luck,” the winner said in a statement released by her attorney Thursday. “I do realize that such good fortune carries a tremendous social responsibility, and it gives me a unique opportunity to assist, support and contribute to charities and causes that are close to my heart.”

Kurland said the winner is donating money to the Ronald McDonald House of Charities of Columbia, South Carolina, the Red Cross Alabama Region’s tornado relief fund, the city of Simpsonville, South Carolina, Art Center, the One SC Fund for Hurricane Florence relief, and In The Middle, a Columbia, South Carolina, charity for women undergoing breast cancer treatment.

ABC News’ Jenn Leong, Janice McDonald and Bill Hutchinson contributed to this report.

A woman was on a scenic drive and decided to buy a lottery ticket — which won her $1.5 billion in Mega Millions.