In early January 2018, Donald Savastano received life-changing news. He’d won the lottery.
According to WBNG, Savastano purchased the winning $1 million ticket “on a whim” at a Mirabito convenience store in Masonville, New York. A self-employed carpenter, 51-year-old Savastano told reporters his humble plans to spend the lump sum of $661,800 on retirement—and maybe a new truck:
“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.”
As WABC reports, an employee at the convenience store said some of Savastano’s winnings would go to a doctor as well. As Danielle Scott explained:
“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.”
Scott said it was the visit to the doctor that revealed Savastano had cancer. Scott said:
“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 had hoped Savastano’s lottery winnings would have been enough to save his life but on January 26, just three weeks after winning the “Merry Millionaire” game, Savastano passed away from stage four cancer.
In an interview with CNN, Scott said she now hopes the lottery winnings will be put to good use:
“I just hope that they can use the money and can give him the best. He was a good person, he deserved it, I just wish he had more time with it.”
According to reports, Savastano’s family has not commented publicly on the loss of their loved one. A funeral was held on January 31.
While collecting his winnings, Savastano told reporters: “This is going change our lives, to tell you the truth.”
Watch more on the story below: