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Winner of record $2 billion Powerball jackpot is revealed

Edwin Castro, who wanted to maintain his privacy, said he was "shocked and ecstatic" to have won the historic prize in November.
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The identity of the person who won the record $2.04 billion Powerball jackpot has been revealed. 

Edwin Castro bought the ticket for the record-setting prize, which was drawn in November, lottery officials announced Tuesday.

Castro "would like to largely remain private" and declined to attend Tuesday’s announcement, California Lottery Director Alva Johnson said.

In California, winners' names are public record, and winners cannot remain anonymous. Other identifying information, like place of residence, age or other details, are not, officials said.

Castro said in a statement read at Tuesday's event that he was "shocked and ecstatic" to have won the jackpot. The statement gave no hint how he’ll spend it.

He chose the lump-sum payment, which amounts to $997.6 million, state lottery Deputy Director and spokesperson Carolyn Becker said. Most take that option, she said.

Winners also have an option to take the prize in 30 payments over 29 years, which is a larger amount but is spread out over time.

The winner had to come forward and then go through a vetting process to determine whether the ticket and claim were legitimate before the lucky ticket-holder's identity could be made public, Becker has said.

The winning ticket was sold at Joe’s Service Center in Altadena, a community about 10 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles, the California Lottery announced at the time.

On Nov. 8, Joseph Chahayed, the owner of the gas station and convenience store, was presented with a check for $1 million for having sold the ticket. Chahayed, 74, said he came to the U.S. from Syria with his wife and two children and plans to “share this money with my children and grandchildren.” 

The Nov. 8 $2.04 billion jackpot was the largest ever won in the history of the Powerball game, which started in 1992.

But it had some suspense: The drawing was scheduled to take place Nov. 7, but it was delayed by an issue, and the numbers weren't announced until the next morning. The Multi-State Lottery Association said at the time that it needed to wait for one lottery to process its sales.

Only two previous jackpots have surpassed $1.5 billion: a $1.53 billion Mega Millions game in 2018 won by a South Carolina player and three winning tickets sold in California, Florida and Tennessee in a $1.58 billion Powerball in 2016.

The chances of picking all six numbers correctly? One in 292.2 million.