Urooj Khan, 46, won $1 million off a scratch lottery ticket he bought at a 7-11 in Chicago last June, but just one day after receiving his check, he died. NBC's Andrea Canning reports.
The Chicago lottery winner who succumbed to cyanide poisoning had no reason to watch his back, his widow said Tuesday.
“I don’t think anyone would have a bad eye for him or that he had an enemy,” Shabana Ansari, Urooj Khan’s widow, told the Associated Press on Tuesday.
“I was shattered. I can’t believe he’s no longer with me,” the tearful Ansari said.
The couple was married for 12 years.
Ansari described her husband’s final dinner in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times on Tuesday.
“No, I loved him to death,” Ansari said in her interview with the paper, saying that she cooked her husband’s last meal. She said she had nothing to do with Khan’s death.
“I loved him and he loved me the same way,” she told the paper.
Khan's lottery winnings are tied up in probate proceedings, she said.
Police have confirmed that they are working with the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office on the case. Ansari told the paper she hopes investigators succeed in rooting out the cause of Khan's death.
“I really want them to go for it because I really want to know what exactly happened,” the 32-year-old said. “I wish God will reveal the truth – the sooner the better.”
Ansari and Khan both moved to the United States from Hyderabad, India, according to the AP. Khan also had a 17-year-old daughter, Jasmeen. The couple went on the Muslim pilgrimage known as the hajj in 2010.
“This has been an utter shock for me, and my husband was such a goodhearted person who would do anything for anyone,” Ansari told ABC News. “Who would do something like this to him?”
“He showered his love on me and now it’s gone,” she said. Khan treated her “like a princess” she said.
Khan was buried in Chicago’s Rosehill Cemetery in July. Cook County Medical Examiner Stephen Cina has said that exhuming his body may be the next step in an investigation of his death.
“Work was his passion,” Ansari said of her husband, who also owned and rented five condominiums, according to the Chicago Tribune. She said she plans to continue running Khan’s businesses.
“I’m just taking care of his hard work,” Ansari said.
Urooj Khan died in July, one day after collecting about $425,000 on a winning $1 million Illinois Lottery scratch-off ticket. His death was first determined to be due to natural causes. Officials on Monday, however, announced that further toxicology reports have shown that the 46-year-old had a lethal dosage of cyanide in his system at the time of death. Police have said they are now pursuing it as a homicide.
Described by friends and relatives as a hard-working family man, Khan immigrated to Chicago from India in the late 1980s, and came to own three Chicago-area dry cleaning businesses, according to the AP.
Khan described his ecstatic reaction after hitting the jackpot in a June press release from the Illinois Lottery.
“I jumped two feet in the air, then ran back into the store and tipped the clerk $100,” Khan said at the time.
"Him winning the lottery was just his luck," Ansari told ABC. "He had already worked hard to be a millionaire before it."