After two weeks of waiting, the Florida Lottery on Wednesday announced the winner of the largest undivided lottery prize on record is 84-year-old Gloria C. MacKenzie of Zephyrhills, Fla.
MacKenzie was not present during the afternoon press conference where Florida Lottery officials revealed her identity. In a written statement read by Florida Lottery Secretary Cynthia O'Connell, MacKenzie said she purchased the $2 ticket at the Publix grocery store in Zephyrhills after "another lottery player was kind enough to let me go ahead of them in line to purchase the winning Quick Pick ticket."
Prior to the drawing, MacKenzie said, she and her son Scott agreed to split any possible winnings.
"We are grateful for this blessing of winning the Florida Lottery Powerball jackpot and appreciate the interest of the public, state of Florida and the lottery," MacKenzie's statement said. "We hope that everyone will give us an opportunity to maintain our privacy for our family's benefit."
MacKenzie opted to take the jackpot's lump sum payout, which amounts to $370,896,780 before taxes. If she had selected annual payments, she would have received more than $19 million a year.
"We are all about making dreams come true here at the Florida Lottery," O'Connell said. "We wish them a lifetime of happiness with their new fortune."
The Florida Lottery was not immediately able to provide information on the winner's prior employment. The press conference was delayed for around an hour, but it's unclear what exactly caused the hold-up.
"They waited as long as they did," O'Connell said, "because this is a very large amount of money, it changes your life."
MacKenzie's ticket was validated at Florida Lottery headquarters. She arrived there with her son, a trusted friend, and her Jacksonville-based legal and financial advisors, according to O'Connell.
In her statement, MacKenzie said all questions should be directed to her legal and financial representatives.
About 80 percent of possible Powerball combinations were sold ahead of the May 18 drawing. The odds of winning the jackpot were about one in 175 million, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association. Ticket-holders stand a much better chance of winning smaller prizes, as low as $4, from drawings.