$1 million scratch-off winner dies of cancer only weeks later

MASONVILLE, N.Y. -- They say that luck is a fickle mistress. Nowhere is that more true than the case of Donald Savastano, a man who won $1 million on a scratch-off ticket only to die of cancer 23 days later.

Savastano, 51, who lived in Sidney, N.Y. but grew up on Long Island, won a million dollars from the New York Lottery in December. Sadly, the self-employed carpenter did not have long to enjoy his newfound wealth.

After his win, the instant millionaire told WBNG 12 News he had plans for the money.

"I'm probably going to go get a new truck and I don't know, probably go on vacation," Savastano told 12 News.

With a stable financial footing, he also decided to visit a doctor.

"He was self employed, he didn't have insurance, he hadn't been feeling good for a while I guess, and when he got the money he went into the doctor," Danielle Scott, the  cashier who sold him the ticket, told 12 News.  "He had a friend come and talk to me, and they told me that he was very sick and that he had brain and lung cancer and that he was in the hospital and they didn't think he was gonna make it."

Savastano's obituary says he "passed away suddenly on Friday, January 26, 2018 after a recent diagnosis of stage 4 cancer."

The obituary says "He was known for his high-quality work and perfectionism. He always tried to reach out and help those he could by teaching them 'the right way to do things.'"

While he never got to enjoy his retirement, he is survived by his "his loving girlfriend of almost 12 years" and her two boys who he helped raise, as well as many family members.