Andrew Jackson Whittaker, Jr. also known as Jack Whittaker, has become one of the best-known lottery winning stories. Sadly the story of Jack Whittaker isn’t a very positive one, although he was fortunate to make the list of jackpot winners.
On Christmas day in December 2002 he won $314.9 million (the largest jackpot ever won at the time by a single winning ticket) and at the time, he was also known as the wealthiest man to ever win the lottery.
The 55 year old West Virginia construction Diversified Construction Company President, who was already worth over $17 million, decided to purchase a ticket whilst stopping at the Hurricane supermarket in West Virginia to buy a sandwich and get fuel for his vehicle. The winnings for his ticket were either $314.9 million annuity or $170.5 million cash.Whittaker chose the cash option, which was $113 million. Jack was very generous with his winnings as he donated 10% of his fortune to Christian charities and donated $14 million to establish his own foundation (a foundation that gives clothing and food to poor families in the Rural West Virginia), the Jack Whittaker Foundation and even gave a $123, 000 house, a truck and $44,000 cash to the woman who worked at the convenience store where he purchased his winning ticket.
Sadly, the saying “the root of all evil is money”, isn’t too far off in Jacks case. After winning the jackpot, his personal problems and legal challenges got the better of him and he started drinking heavily, frequently visiting strip clubs.
On the 5th of August 2003, nearly a year after he won the jackpot, thieves broke into his car and stole $545,000 whilst he was visiting a West Virginia strip club. In January in 2004, his car was once again broken into and thieves stole another $200,000, but this was later recovered. In 2004 his granddaughter’s boyfriend died of an overdose and a few months later his granddaughter was found dead, wrapped in plastic and dumped behind an old van.
In July 2009, Ginger Whittaker Bragg, Jacks 42 year old daughter was found dead in Daniels in West Virginia, no foul play was suspected. Jack, in these dark moments of his life, blames the fact that he won the jackpot for all his misfortune in his life. He stated to reporters at the time of his daughter’s death that he wished he had torn the ticket up.
On 2 December 2016, almost 14 years after winning the jackpot, Jacks home in Bland County, Virginia burnt to the ground. Fortunately, although his wife was home, no one was injured. Sadly, Whittaker stated that the house was not insured.
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