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$37M lotto winner dies heartbroken recluse

After the Big WinAfter the Big Win: $37M lotto winner dies heartbroken recluse

Ontario's biggest-ever lottery winner died a heartbroken and miserly recluse, estranged from family and too sick — or too tightfisted — to spend his millions.

Friends of 59-year-old Graham Gelineau, who won $37 million in 2007 from a Canada Lotto 6/49 ticket, told the Sun the "eccentric" and mysterious Graham disappeared after collecting his jackpot, not returning to the cheap room he rented in a boarding house on St. Clair Ave. W.

Friends aren't sure of the exact date of his death but have heard it was a week ago.

"He made his escape plan, and nobody ever saw him again," Tom Bailey, 57, says.

"He knew that (people) would be crawling all over that rooming house looking for him after he won."

Even in death, Gelineau remains an elusive mystery.

There will be no viewing for friends and family, and no funeral, says Ken Burnley of Trull Funeral Home and Cremation Centre on Yonge St., just south of Glencairn Ave., which is handling Gelineau's arrangements.

There won't even be a death notice, he says.

Burnley won't say who is handling Gelineau's estate, or the exact date he died, citing privacy legislation.

And he says he knows nothing of Gelineau's windfall.

When Gelineau won his millions he said little would change in his life although looking for an apartment — where he could live alone — was a priority.

He planned to help out family and friends, and give some cash to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was being treated for an undisclosed illness.

"My life's going to stay pretty much the same," Gelineau said.

"That's what I think, but who knows what the future brings?"

Before winning the jackpot, Gelineau held down a low-paying job as a clerk at an off-track betting parlour in the Bathrust and Bloor Sts. area.

He revealed little of himself or his past to anyone, and according to one source, kept the money he earned as a clerk tucked away in books in his rented room.

He was also a chess fanatic, and an avid reader of science fiction.

But he also struggled with his weight — at one point hovering around the 300 pound mark — and was ill much of the time as a result, Bailey says.

After scoring his windfall, Gelineau quit his clerk's job, and apparently rented a small apartment at the foot of Spadina.

No one the Sun interviewed knew what Gelineau did with his millions, but there were rumours he donated some of it to hospitals.

Gelineau was a guarded, private man who never talked of his parents or any siblings, and never dated, Bailey says.

But at one point he did have a family of sorts — a woman he lived with and loved.

"At one time, he had a girlfriend," Bailey says, "but he came home one day and she had disappeared — walked out — and he never got over it. He clearly stated he would never be interested in a relationship again after she disappeared."

Gelineau, who Bailey says always earned a "modest" income, was tight with money but still likable.

"if he sat down, people would want to buy him drinks... you were just glad to have him around." A former landlord remembers Gelineau as an intensely private man who may have had "terminal cancer" the year before winning the big prize.

Gelineau rarely left his room during that time, other than for work.

"He was seriously ill, I think," says Tom, owner of a two-storey house on Follis Ave in the Bloor and Christie Sts. area where Gelineau rented a room from 1997 to early 2007.

"He kept to himself. He didn't really want anyone to really know him."

The only sign of possible family, says Tom, who declined to give his last name, were two women who showed up on Christmas Day a few years before Gelineau won the jackpot.

Gelineau lost his temper and screamed at them to "just leave".

Even though he lived close to the poverty line, Gelineau squirrelled away his money, Tom says. He once found a wad of thousands of dollars that Gelineau had accidentally thrown in the trash. He returned the money to a grateful Gelineau.

A woman, who worked on-and-off with Gelineau for 15 years at Albert's Parlour, an off-track betting lounge on the second floor of the Brunswick House bar, calls him a "generous spirit" who loved to read and play chess, but never spent money or talked about his personal life.

"He was an eccentric guy," says the woman who didn't want to be identified. "He was just Graham."

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

Thanks to Sherry for the tip.

Toronto Sun

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40 comments. Last comment 3 years ago by rdgrnr.
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dpoly1's avatar - driver
PA
United States
Member #66141
October 16, 2008
1422 Posts
Offline
Posted: April 11, 2011, 9:48 am - IP Logged

I would choose to enjoy the money if I would win a large amount.

Living a more comfortable life and helping other would be most enjoyable !

Big Grin

    ameriken's avatar - 33ojew2
    Denver, Co
    United States
    Member #103049
    December 29, 2010
    546 Posts
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    Posted: April 11, 2011, 10:00 am - IP Logged

    What a bummer, such a sad story.

      sully16's avatar - sharan
      Listens to the wind

      United States
      Member #81740
      October 28, 2009
      17808 Posts
      Online
      Posted: April 11, 2011, 10:35 am - IP Logged

      What a bummer, such a sad story.

      Very sad indeed.

      There's only one US Flag

        Raven62's avatar - binary
        New Jersey
        United States
        Member #17843
        June 28, 2005
        17936 Posts
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        Posted: April 11, 2011, 10:37 am - IP Logged

        Can Money Buy Happiness?

        It can if the Money Winner doesn't Limit their own Potential to be Happy with the Choices They Make!

        R. I. P. Graham!

        A mind once stretched by a new idea never returns to its original dimensions!

          foragoodcause's avatar - Lottery-021.jpg

          France
          Member #49288
          January 25, 2007
          40 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: April 11, 2011, 10:43 am - IP Logged

          Unfortunately when you become millionaire overnight you have to hide from people specially your family.

            hearsetrax's avatar - 78638c467ef281febf24383e126f74b6

            United States
            Member #52345
            May 21, 2007
            1731 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: April 11, 2011, 12:58 pm - IP Logged

            Can Money Buy Happiness?

            It can if the Money Winner doesn't Limit their own Potential to be Happy with the Choices They Make!

            R. I. P. Graham!

            Skeptical dunno about that ..... but I reckon the answer died with him

            personally am curious as to his last days,beliefs/figgurings/lessons learned and how many true friends he had if any

             bad enough he died alone  Twitch

              Jon D's avatar - calotterylogo
              Los Angeles, California
              United States
              Member #103816
              January 5, 2011
              1437 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: April 11, 2011, 1:08 pm - IP Logged

              Money can buy a lot of things and solve many of life's problems.

              But it just goes to show: if you don't have your health, not a lot of good those millions will do.

              Stay healthy.

                nickey t's avatar - necros
                new york
                United States
                Member #108526
                March 26, 2011
                28 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: April 11, 2011, 1:33 pm - IP Logged

                so so sad .. but the idea i'm getting is that 1) he was already sickly and 2) he previously had issues with family .. so, who knows where the money is or who he left in charge but i respect recluses and their privacy and assume this was all part of his plan .. he certainly could have enjoyed the millions if he wanted to and who is to say he didn't .. well, his estate knows everything Disapprove

                when i win - solo, my lawyer will be instructed to say "a group of 52 retired navy seals have won" -- you know, to get the haters off my butt .. Sulk Off

                  Avatar
                  Atlanta, GA
                  United States
                  Member #1265
                  March 13, 2003
                  3326 Posts
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                  Posted: April 11, 2011, 1:57 pm - IP Logged

                  Seems he lived life and faced death under his own terms.  RIP.  Blue Angel

                  Good luck to everyone!

                    Avatar

                    Honduras
                    Member #20982
                    August 29, 2005
                    4715 Posts
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                    Posted: April 11, 2011, 2:26 pm - IP Logged

                    what a face indeed, they will do anything for that face and to that face....Is called: CLASS...And in canada and with that French name or so it looks...guys dont mind me...is also written on his face but i think this time it was environment...

                    The Forex trades: 1.6 Trillion dollars EVERY day, that´s more than the GDP of the Carribbean Central America, COMBINED. Enough to feed every crook out there for centuries...To all Geniuses & Powers Countries of the World the Planet needs breakthroughs in all Medicine, Veterinary, Biology related fields, Psychology, Population Psychology/Sociology..They need to genetically ingeneer new plants species/types to give more variety of plants and thus have more resources for combating diseases¨


                     


                     


                     

                     


                      Avatar

                      Honduras
                      Member #20982
                      August 29, 2005
                      4715 Posts
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                      Posted: April 11, 2011, 2:45 pm - IP Logged

                      talking about a future: BILLIONAIRE...

                      He died a hermit, i could had told you that: 50 years ago...he must had had a good heart...

                      The Forex trades: 1.6 Trillion dollars EVERY day, that´s more than the GDP of the Carribbean Central America, COMBINED. Enough to feed every crook out there for centuries...To all Geniuses & Powers Countries of the World the Planet needs breakthroughs in all Medicine, Veterinary, Biology related fields, Psychology, Population Psychology/Sociology..They need to genetically ingeneer new plants species/types to give more variety of plants and thus have more resources for combating diseases¨


                       


                       


                       

                       


                        Avatar

                        Honduras
                        Member #20982
                        August 29, 2005
                        4715 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: April 11, 2011, 2:54 pm - IP Logged

                        Here is a quote from the movie: Gladiator...

                        Death smiles at us ALL [whao!], all a man can do is, smile back...

                        you never know live life to the fullest...

                        The Forex trades: 1.6 Trillion dollars EVERY day, that´s more than the GDP of the Carribbean Central America, COMBINED. Enough to feed every crook out there for centuries...To all Geniuses & Powers Countries of the World the Planet needs breakthroughs in all Medicine, Veterinary, Biology related fields, Psychology, Population Psychology/Sociology..They need to genetically ingeneer new plants species/types to give more variety of plants and thus have more resources for combating diseases¨


                         


                         


                         

                         


                          Avatar

                          Honduras
                          Member #20982
                          August 29, 2005
                          4715 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: April 11, 2011, 3:25 pm - IP Logged

                          Here is a quote from the movie: Gladiator...

                          Death smiles at us ALL [whao!], all a man can do is, smile back...

                          you never know live life to the fullest...

                          you know one of the many reasons why i say that??? Just to THINK how many THOUSANDS of times this planet in the past would had been eliminated, just to think that we came from a bacteria and from a monkey just to think that we are a ball hovering in space in MID AIR with no chords, just to look at the Sun in close shots, just to look at what occurs in other parts of the universe or other planets, just to think that there is life here but NO WHERE ELSE, just to see how man happily celebrate every day as if he was in heaven, ect, ect, ect, ect AND ECT is like standing at the very edge of a never ending PRECIPICE.....Makes me conclude that: DEATH SMILES AT US ALL...

                          So i dont know whats the: CELEBRATION....

                          AGAIN EVERYBODY LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST...

                          my favorite poem in the ENTIRE WORLD is Thanatopsis by William Cullen Bryan....

                          you dont have no possession in this world, all you got is: EACH OTHER...

                          The Forex trades: 1.6 Trillion dollars EVERY day, that´s more than the GDP of the Carribbean Central America, COMBINED. Enough to feed every crook out there for centuries...To all Geniuses & Powers Countries of the World the Planet needs breakthroughs in all Medicine, Veterinary, Biology related fields, Psychology, Population Psychology/Sociology..They need to genetically ingeneer new plants species/types to give more variety of plants and thus have more resources for combating diseases¨


                           


                           


                           

                           


                            Avatar

                            Honduras
                            Member #20982
                            August 29, 2005
                            4715 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: April 11, 2011, 4:00 pm - IP Logged

                            they should drop the name: HUmankind and replaced it by: BY-A-WHISKER...

                            The Forex trades: 1.6 Trillion dollars EVERY day, that´s more than the GDP of the Carribbean Central America, COMBINED. Enough to feed every crook out there for centuries...To all Geniuses & Powers Countries of the World the Planet needs breakthroughs in all Medicine, Veterinary, Biology related fields, Psychology, Population Psychology/Sociology..They need to genetically ingeneer new plants species/types to give more variety of plants and thus have more resources for combating diseases¨