TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Lottery says the winner of the $590 million Powerball jackpot, 84-year-old Gloria C. Mackenzie, has claimed the prize.
Lottery officials held a news conference on Wednesday, though Mackenzie didn't attend.
Mackenzie bought the winning ticket in the May 18 Powerball drawing at a grocery store in Zephyrhills, near Tampa, Florida Lottery Secretary Cynthia O'Connell said.
O'Connell said in a statement prepared by Mackenzie that she is pleading for privacy.
Formerly from East Millinocket, Maine, neighbors say MacKenzie spent winters in Florida with her husband, a retired mill worker, before moving there permanently.
MacKenzie was described by a family friend as a stay-at-home mom. Her husband, Ralph, passed away several years ago and enjoyed fishing, hunting and snowmobiling in Maine.
Officials say it's the largest sole winner in U.S. history. The winner's identity was a mystery since the drawing on May 18. The winner had 60 days from the May 18 drawing to claim the lump sum.
The amount of the prize ballooned to $590 million as the drawing approached, with Florida lottery officials selling about $45,000 worth of tickets an hour at the peak.
Mackenzie turned down the 30-year payout and took the smaller one-time amount, O'Connell said.
Zephyrhills 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.
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