Flu keeps Spanish woman from learning of lottery jackpot

Posted at 05/13/09 12:16 AM

MADRID - A 25-year-old Spanish woman who won a record 126 million euros in the Euro Millions lottery only learned of her good luck days later after spending the weekend bed-ridden with the flu, lottery officials said Tuesday.

The unnamed woman from the island of Mallorca only discovered that she had won the jackpot awarded Friday when lottery officials finally tracked her down on Monday, online lottery seller Serviapuestas said in a statement.

"I was still sick on Monday so I decided to go to work out of fear of losing my job given the economic crisis we are going through," she was quoted as saying in the statement.

The woman was the only one to tick the five correct numbers (4, 23, 24, 29, 31) and two stars (8, 9) and win the huge jackpot drawn in Paris in ticket which she bought through Serviapuestas.

"When she learned the news she was frightened and at the same time very, very moved. Logically she asked us many questions," the company said in the statement.

The jackpot of 126,231,764 euros (171,877,170 dollars) is enough to buy two Airbus A-320 jets.

The previous record in the lottery, run by nine European countries, had been held since July 2005 by Dolores McNamara of Gallyowen near Limerick in southwest Ireland who took home 115,436,126 euros.

Friday's winner beat odds of 76 million to one to win the equivalent of four years' salary by David Beckham, the world's best paid footballer.

Euro Millions, which recently celebrated its fifth anniversary, brings together France, Britain, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Austria. The jackpot begins at 15 million euros each week but is rolled over if there is no winner.

The world record for a game of chance is 390 million dollars (286 million euros) split by two winners of the super jackpot in the American Mega Millions lottery in March 2007.