Canada Lotto 6/49 Winner Graham Gelineau: Rich and Reclusive
Winning the lottery is certainly a life-altering experience—after all, you suddenly have enough money in the bank to do nearly anything you’ve ever wanted to do. The opportunity is grand and opens up so many paths to change one’s life for the better. However, for Canada Lotto 6/49 winner Graham Gelineau, hitting the jackpot didn’t change his life much at all.
A Win Worth Millions
In 2007, at the age of 55, Ontario resident Graham Gelineau didn’t have much. Not only was he single and child free, but he was living in a rooming house and collecting disability. For the most part, he was a recluse who very rarely left his home. When he bought a Lotto 6/49 ticket one day, it was more of a routine than anything else—and of course, he had no expectations of actually winning.
After the June 6th drawing, Gelineau said he had a feeling upon waking up that made him call the lottery operator to check if he had the winning numbers. After confirming he did, he went to the local convenience store where he always purchased his tickets to see just how much he won. When he asked the clerk to validate it, the terminal shut down and began playing music. Indeed, he did have the winning numbers—and they were worth an incredible $37 million. For most, this would be life-changing news, but that didn’t necessarily apply to this winner. In fact, when asked how he thought his life might change, he said: “Apart from the money, my life’s going to stay pretty much the same.”
How Did Graham Spend His Winnings?
Unlike most other lottery winners, Graham Gelineau didn’t start thinking about the many ways he could fund a luxurious lifestyle. Instead, he made a plan to share the money with his family and friends, as well as donate a portion of his winnings to a few choice charities. Likewise, he was relieved to no longer have to worry about working. His biggest concern was finding a new place to live, but he managed to find an apartment that allowed him to move out of the rooming house.
Beyond that, the winner didn’t go into many details about the other ways he’d spend his money. He noted he wanted to buy a new chess set, but that was about the extent of it. Though a dream had come true for him, he had no idea how he could possibly plan for spending his millions—so he didn’t.
Dead at 59
In early April 2011, Graham Gelineau was found dead. He had essentially disappeared after his big win, so his friends and family didn’t have much information regarding his tragic passing. All they knew for certain was that he’d continued his recluse lifestyle and barely spent his winnings, which left the public wondering who would handle his estate. Regardless, details regarding his life and death were never fully released.
Gelineau’s life certainly wasn’t full of happiness. Before he won the jackpot, he had been working at a betting parlour as a clerk. The job didn’t pay him much, and in October 2006, he became even more restrained in his work and his life when he started collecting disability.
His loved ones remembered him as someone who kept mostly to himself, though he was also considered “eccentric” and “generous.” He preferred to live alone and maintain a quiet life, so that’s exactly what he did. It was to the point that most people didn’t really know that much about him, as he didn’t speak about himself or his life to others very frequently. What was known for certain was that he loved chess and science fiction, both of which provided him a unique joy that money—even $37 million—could never truly provide.
When Gelineau passed away, it wasn’t much of a shock to those who knew him. He faced constant health issues, including problems with his weight. Before his win, he became accustomed to being constantly down on his luck, to the point that even having millions to his name didn’t change his life much. Unfortunately, he never realised all he would be capable of doing with the money he had.
Graham Gelineau’s story is certainly unique, but oddly enough, he’s not the only winner to have lived and died as a recluse. Stuart Donnelly won £25 million at the young age of 17, and though the win had the potential to change and greatly improve his life, he ultimately ended up distancing himself from most of the world—including friends and family, who he’d only see on special occasions. Like Gelineau, he eventually died alone.
Thankfully, such tragic stories of winners aren’t as common as those of happy ones, which should give us a little bit more hope when picking our lucky numbers. In the end, if you’re generally a happy person prior to winning, you’re much likelier to be happy after winning as well.