Man Who Took Poverty Vow Wins $259.8M Powerball Jackpot

PHOTO: Roy Cockrum, 58, of Knoxville receives his $259.8 million Powerball prize from Tennessee Lottery CEO Rebecca Hargrove, July 3, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn.
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A Knoxville, Tennessee, man has claimed the $259.9 million Powerball jackpot and plans to donate most of the money to support the performing arts.

Roy Cockrum, 58, became America's newest millionaire Thursday as he accepted the mega check at Tennessee Lottery headquarters in Nashville. Lottery officials say it's the largest prize ever won in Tennessee Lottery history.

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Cockrum, who will accept a lump sum payment of $115 million, said he plans to use most of the money to start a foundation that will support performing arts organizations around the country. Cockrum said his years of living with a vow of poverty has prepared him well for donating the money.

"It's going to be my job to work very hard to make sure that every single penny of this prize is a blessing to whoever it touches," Cockrum said in his brief remarks during a Thursday news conference.

Cocrum worked for 20 years as an actor and stage manager for theater and TV productions.

He later became known as Brother Roy, as he followed a call to religious service with The Society of Saint John the Evangelist, an Episcopal religious community in Cambridge, Massachusetts. According to the society's "Rule of Life," members of the monastic order take "lifelong vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience in an enduring fellowship."

The Associated Press contributed to this story

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