The Michigan man who won a $208 million Mega Millions lottery jackpot with his wife in April 2005 has died, police and a family spokesman said.
But after less than a year of incredible wealth — taking home a $124.7-million lump-sum payment — Ralph Stebbins has died at age 43.
Ralph Stebbins died Saturday at his home in Arcadia Township near Lapeer, Sheriff's Sgt. Andy Engster told the Times Herald of Port Huron. Kolt said that, to his knowledge, Stebbins did not have a history of heart problems and hadn't been ill.
Ralph and his wife, Mary, elected to take a lump-sum payment of $124.7 million, less taxes. They could have chosen to spread $208 million in payments over 26 years.
The couple used part of their winnings to buy a recreational vehicle and said they planned to buy a cow, pay off bills, and build a garage to house a 1963 Corvette.
Family spokesman Robert Kolt said he was not aware that Stebbins had a history of heart problems or that he was feeling ill.
"He seemed healthy and he was a very active guy," Kolt told the Detroit Free Press for a Wednesday story. "I think everybody was surprised.''
Stebbins — who before becoming a multimillionaire had worked for a well-digging company in the Port Huron area, — found himself in legal trouble earlier this month when he was arrested after a confrontation with the boyfriend of his daughter Karin, Kolt said.
The charges are domestic, but the details are unclear.
"Ralph loved his kids," Kolt said. "He was a very protective father."
The Stebbinses were married 23 years. They have three children — Candice, 22, Karin, 19, and Todd, 17.
Kolt said the Stebbinses used their fortune to help family members. They also got the farm they had wanted.
But they never bought that cow.