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Toronto man who won $10M in lottery dies under mysterious circumstances in Ethiopia

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‘I’ve always said that if I won the lottery, I’d help people in need,’ Michael Gebru said after win

A Canadian man whose fortunes changed overnight two years ago when he went from being laid off to becoming a multimillionaire has died in Ethiopia, Global Affairs Canada has confirmed.

Michael Gebru, 41, died under mysterious circumstances in his home country, his cousin Sosuna Asefaw told CBC News.

In 2017 Gebru, who had recently been laid off at an assembly plant, checked a lottery ticket, thinking he’d won about $14. But he’d actually won $10.7 million.

“I’ve always said that if I won the lottery, I’d help people in need,” the Scarborough, Ont., man told CBC News at the time.

That’s precisely what he did, his cousin told CBC News. Ever since winning, Gebru had travelled between Toronto and Ethiopia, hoping to make a difference with his newfound wealth.

  • Family of multi-millionaire who died mysteriously in Ethiopia searches for answers
  • Scarborough resident goes from laid off to multimillionaire

“Going back home, he just wanted to do more for our country,” Asefaw said.

Asefaw says Gebru had just flown to Ethiopia a couple of weeks ago and had been visiting the area where he grew up, when something went awry.

The circumstances of Gebru’s death are still being investigated, she says, but the family has heard that he was killed Saturday night.

The family is appealing to the Canadian Embassy in Ethiopia for help, saying they’ve heard little from local police.

“I don’t know exactly what happened,” Asefaw said. “Everyone knew who he was in Toronto and everyone knew back home, because it’s a big thing . He didn’t grow up with much.”

In a statement to CBC News, Global Affairs Canada said, “Our thoughts and sympathies are with the family of a Canadian citizen who died in Ethiopia. Consular services are being provided to the family.”

Spokesperson Angela Savard said the department could not provide further information, citing the Privacy Act.

A Canadian man whose fortunes changed overnight two years ago when he went from being laid off to becoming a multimillionaire has died in Ethiopia, Global Affairs Canada has confirmed.

Atlanta Lottery Winner Dies After Gold Plating His Testicles?

Reports that a lottery winner died after gold-plating his genitals are fake news.

  • Published 29 November 2015

Claim

A lottery winner died after attempting to gold-plate his testicles.

Rating

False

Origin

In November 2015, a number of fake news sites, including Now8News, began sharing articles claiming a lottery winner had died after attempting to gold-plate his testicles:

Growing up in a life of poverty, 38-year-old Justin Green saw his hopes and dreams come true when hitting $100 million Georgia lottery last month. Friends reported that Green immediately quit his job at Walmart and made plans for a “better life.” Apparently, his idea of a better life would not be at the top of the list for most lottery winners. As a young man, Green was obsessed with the 2002 movie comedy Goldmember – an Austin Powers parody of the bond movie Goldfinger in which Powers is hunting a criminal mastermind who colors his victims ‘man parts’ in gold.

According to family members, Green went on a shopping spree which included gold and diamond chains, exotic cars, custom gold and diamond “grills” and … get this … gold plated genitals. Green approached many people in the gold plating business, however he was turned down by every store owner – Green was warned this was a very dangerous procedure. Green began painting his genitals with lead-based paint, but quickly decided that a simple coloring wasn’t enough – he needed the real gold. To complete the makeshift operation, Green used a professional automotive gold plater that he borrowed from a garage. Unfortunately in the 12 hours following the procedure, Green encountered a series of health issues that ultimately led to his death.

A 19 November 2015 version that appeared on the web site Viral Covert relocated the hapless lottery winner’s residence to Canada:

Justin Reiter from Alberta, Canada, died of medical complications after attempting to gold plate his own genitals to celebrate an astonishing $598,556 jackpot win … Justin started by painting his genitals with a lead-based paint, but quickly decided that a simple coloring wasn’t enough: he needed to take it to the next level, he needed the real gold. To complete the makeshift operation, Reiter used a professional automotive gold plater that he borrowed from a garage. Unfortunately in the twelve hours following the procedure, Justing encountered a series of health issues that ultimately led to his death.

Both versions featured the same image of a doctor purportedly involved with the fatal incident:

Various fake news sites reported that a lottery winner died after gold-plating his genitals.