Last June, Urooj Khan, a 46-year-old who owned several dry cleaners in Chicago, won a cool million in the Illinois lottery. He reacted in an appropriate enough way, yelling "I hit a million, I hit a million!" repeatedly before leaving the 7-Eleven, only to return after a few moments to tip the store's clerk $100. Several weeks later, at a ceremony where he was presented with an oversized check, Khan said "Winning the lottery means everything to me." Khan added he had plans to donate some of the post-taxes sum of $425,000 to a local children's hospital and then invest the remaining cash into his business.
Happy enough story so far, right? Well, exactly one day after the Comptroller's office cut the check, Khan was found dead, with no signs of trauma. Authorities initially ruled the death the result of natural causes, but after a request from one of Khan's relatives, did an "expanded screening." Now, six months after the initial ruling, authorities are saying Khan died after ingesting cyanide.
"It's pretty unusual," said Cook County Medical Examiner Stephen Cina, commenting on the rarity of cyanide poisonings. "I've had one, maybe two cases out of 4,500 autopsies I've done."
Chicago police launched a homicide investigation and will likely exhume Khan's body. As for the money, the check was cashed August 15th, three weeks after Khan's death, presumably by a relative or someone representing his estate.