'So unlucky': Woman found dead after 'hellish' $50m lotto win

A woman who won the largest lotto jackpot ever in Northern Ireland has been found dead in her home.

The body of Margaret Loughrey, 56, who famously won £27 million (A$50 million) in the Euromillions draw in 2013, was discovered on her Strabane property on Thursday morning (local time), the Belfast Telegraph reports.

Police have said her death is not suspicious and a post-mortem exam will be performed.

Friends and neighbours of the 56-year-old have spoken of their sadness after learning of her death and said the multi-millionaire was generous to a fault but very private.

“[A] sore ending for someone who was so lucky — and so unlucky,” Strabane councillor Paul Gallagher told Belfast Live.

Margaret Loughrey after her lotto win.
Six years after her win, Margaret Loughrey said the money had 'sent her to hell and back'. Source: BBC

“She never asked to be a millionaire. It was thrust upon her but she was very generous with it,” he said.

“I knew her before she won the money and I knew her after the money.

“She made all her family millionaires and there was a couple of very close friends, they became millionaires. She was very supportive of her neighbours and they all got a generous donation.

“After that she made charitable donations to local as well as national charities.”

One year after her huge lottery win, Ms Loughrey said she planned to keep £1m for herself and give the rest away.

“I know what it’s like to have nothing,” she said in 2014, Belfast Live reports.

“That’s why I’m giving it away – I can’t miss what I never had. I spent half of my adult life unemployed and the other half on the minimum wage so I know only too well how hard things can be.”

The store where the 56-year-old bought her winning ticket. Source: BBC
Ms Loughrey bought the winning ticket at a shop in her town in 2013. Source: BBC

Lotto win 'sent her to hell and back'

In 2019, Ms Loughrey told the Sunday Life her lottery win “sent her to hell and back.”

“Money has brought me nothing but grief. It has destroyed my life,” she said.

“I have had six years of this. I don’t believe in religion, but if there is a hell, I have been in it. It has been that bad. I went down to five-and-a-half stone.”

While it has been widely reported that the multi-millionaire was generous with her windfall, she also ran into some legal trouble.

In 2015, she was ordered to complete 150 hours of community service for assaulting a taxi driver, the BBC reports.

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