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Tennessee man wins $153.5 million in state's largest lottery jackpot

By Brendan O'Brien

(Reuters) - A self-employed Tennessee man on Thursday claimed a cool $153.5 million cash prize after winning the largest Powerball prize in state history.

Roy Cockrum of Knoxville matched all six numbers in the Tennessee Powerball on June 11 to win the $259.8 million grand prize. The 58-year-old chose the $153.5 lump sum rather than a series of payments, the Tennessee Lottery said in a statement.

Cockrum said in the statement that when he realized he had won the jackpot, it "literally knocked me to my knees."

Cockrum then said a little prayer, picked himself up, put the winning ticket in his wallet and went to pick up his mother.

Cockrum worked 20 years as an actor and stage manager for theater and television. He then entered an Episcopal religious order in Cambridge, Massachusetts, before he moved back to Knoxville in 2009 to care for his parents, the lottery said.

"I really believe the best way to prepare for this tsunami of cash has been to live under a vow of poverty for a number of years," Cockrum said. "It gives great perspective."

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee)

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