Michael Gebru: Canada Lotto Max Winner Dies Suspiciously

For most people, winning nearly $11 million would mean going off to have the time of one’s life. With that much money, it feels like there’s nothing one can’t do. For Canada Lotto Max winner Michael Gebru, he was more than eager than to change the world with his winnings. Sadly, his dreams soon came to an end when he was found dead just two years after his win.

Lotto Max Winner Michael GebruA Much Bigger Win Than Expected

When Scarborough resident Michael Gebru purchased a Lotto Max ticket in 2017, he was already down on his luck. To his dismay, he’d lost his job as an assembly worker, which was a stressful situation he hadn’t quite prepared for. Luckily, the world had bigger plans for him. Days after the June 16 Lotto Max draw, Gebru headed to the store to scan his ticket. Initially, he was certain he’d only won $14. When he went to a store clerk to cash it in, the lottery machine nearly instantly shut down. Not long after, he found out he was the ticketholder of $10.7 million.

How Michael Spent His Winnings

During a press release, Gebru indicated that his plans included buying his first home as well as vacationing in Jamaica—the travel destination of his dreams. Though he had enough money to spoil himself for many years to come, that wasn’t what he was focused on. Instead, he planned to generously donate a portion of his winnings to charities and churches to help people in need.

Notorious for his giving nature, Gebru returned to his home country of Ethiopia intending to provide the community with much-needed aid. Unfortunately, tragedy soon rocked the lives of his loved ones.

Found Dead at 41

During his trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in September 2019, Michael Gebru was found dead under suspicious circumstances. Immediately, his family began seeking out answers about his untimely death. However, it wasn’t simple, as the Ethiopian police handling his case weren’t communicating as needed. This resulted in Gebru’s relatives reaching out to the Canadian Embassy in Ethiopia. Not long after, it was confirmed that the winner was the victim of a robbery gone wrong. No further details about the case have been publicised.

Gebru’s life was honoured during a funeral held in Ethiopia on September 16, 2019. Later that same week, his friends and family in Canada held a prayer vigil at a church in Toronto.


Though few details about Michael Gebru’s life were released to the public, his life story certainly didn’t lack substance. The winner was born in Ethiopia and immigrated to Canada later in life, but he was no stranger to his roots. His family claimed that Gebru was well known, both in Canada and Ethiopia, even before his big win. Despite coming from poverty, he was adamant about using his resources for good, which is why his primary focus after winning the lottery was taking care of others. He was loved by many and certainly won’t be forgotten.


Though the case of Michael Gebru seems unique, many lottery winners have fallen victim to circumstance, including robbery and murder victim Craigory Burch Jr. Winning the lottery is often a very public situation, so for those hoping to take home millions, it’s important to take as many precautions as possible—including staying anonymous if you have the option to. While winning millions isn’t exactly a chore in itself, it sure comes with its own set of them. It’s better to be prepared to take care of them just in case good luck strikes.

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