William "Bud" Post III, 66, who won a $16.2-million jackpot and bitterly called it the "lottery of death" after his life turned sour, died of respiratory failure Jan. 15 at a hospital in Seneca, Pa.
He won the Pennsylvania lottery in 1988 after pawning a ring for $40 and buying 40 tickets. The Erie, Pa., native, who had been living on Social Security disability income, had $2.46 in the bank the day he bought the ticket. But the winnings, paid in annual installments of $498,000 after taxes, brought trouble.
Businesses he started with siblings failed. His sixth wife moved out, his brother was convicted of trying to kill him, and his sometime girlfriend successfully sued for a third of his winnings. He was convicted of assault for firing a shotgun over the head of a bill collector.
"He was like 'The Beverly Hillbillies,' " said John Lacher, a bankruptcy lawyer who assisted Post. "He did everything you would expect of a guy who became a millionaire overnight."