The jackpot, worth 100,000 euros ($130,590), will be paid to the unidentified winner's estate because he died during the protracted legal battle that ensued after he submitted his claim for the prize in the 2002 drawing, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.
The family's lawyer, Edoardo Manco, said the man had listened to a television broadcast of the lottery drawing and when he didn't hear his numbers called, tore the ticket in two and threw it in the garbage. It wasn't until reading a newspaper the next day he realized his mistake, retrieved the pieces of the ticket and tried to claim his prize.
Italian lottery officials initially denied payment because of the ticket's condition but a judge ordered the government to pay the man's estate, Manco told reporters.
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