$1 Million Chicago Lottery Winner Killed by Cyanide Poisoning Before Collecting Winnings

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While an initial examination said Khan died of heart disease, after looking further into the case, officials now say cyanide poisoning killed him. Reuters

Today in "more money, more problems," a Chicago man who won $1 million in the state lottery was killed by cyanide poisoning before he could collect his winnings, the Chicago Tribune reported.

When the winner, 46-year-old Urooj Khan, won the jackpot in June 2012 on a scratch-off ticket he purchased at a 7-Eleven on the north side of Chicago he'd planned pay off his debts and his mortgage, invest in his dry cleaning business, and make a substantial donation to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

"I scratched the ticket, then I kept on saying, 'I hit a million!' over and over again," Khan told lottery officials later. "I jumped 2 feet in the air, then ran back into the store and tipped the clerk $100."

However, Khan wouldn't live long enough to spend his prize. Khan collected the actual check for nearly $425,000 on July 19, but on July 20, not even one month after he'd accepted the oversized check from the Illinois lottery, he was found dead. According to a police report obtained by the Tribune, the night he died Khan reportedly came home from work to his wife, Shabana Ansari, and daughter, Jasmeen, ate dinner and went to bed. Next thing anyone knew, Khan was screaming. Soon after he was pronounced dead at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, Ill.

While an initial examination said Khan died of heart disease, after looking further into the case, officials now say cyanide poisoning killed him.

Within a few days of Khan's autopsy in July "a family member asked that we look into it more closely because they had concerns," Stephen J. Cina, chief medical examiner for Cook County, Ill., told the Los Angeles Times. Cina declined to identify the family member.

When examiners ran further tests in September a result came back positive for cyanide. By late November, officials announced that amount "showed the cyanide at a lethal level," Cina said. Khan's death has since been ruled a homicide. His body may be exhumed for further examination, the Tribune reported.

According police a homicide investigation is currently underway and Khan's lottery win can't be ruled out as a motive.

Khan's wife, Ansari wouldn't comment on the investigation other than to confirm she'd talked with the authorities, but lauded her husband as "the best husband on the entire planet."

"By God's grace, he was a workaholic," she told the Tribune. "Day or night ... he picks up the phone 24/7. He made the clients happy by doing his job. He could not be everywhere, but he had to be everywhere."

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