TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – 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 biggest undivided lottery jackpot in history: $590 million.
Gloria C. MacKenzie, who lives in a modest, tin-roof house in Zephyrhills, where the sole winning ticket in the May 18 drawing was bought, took her prize in a lump sum of just over $370 million. After federal taxes, she is taking home about $270 million, lottery officials said.
She did not speak to a crowd of reporters outside lottery headquarters, leaving quickly in a silver Ford Focus with her son and family friends.
MacKenzie bought the winning ticket at a Publix supermarket in the town of about 13,300 people 30 miles northeast of Tampa. It is best known for the bottled spring water that bears its name – and now, for one of the biggest lottery winners of all time.
The $590 million was the second-largest lottery jackpot in history, behind a $656 million Mega Millions prize in March 2012, but that sum was split, with three winning tickets.
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.” MacKenzie let the lottery computers generate the numbers at random. She said she also bought four other tickets for the drawing.
“We are grateful with this blessing of winning the Florida Lottery Powerball jackpot,” the statement said. “We hope that everyone would give us the opportunity to maintain our privacy for our family’s benefit.”