Wife says poisoned lottery winner had no enemies

CHICAGO – The wife of a Chicago lottery winner who was poisoned with cyanide said Tuesday she was devastated by his death and cannot believe her husband could have had enemies.

Shabana Ansari spoke to The Associated Press a day after news emerged that 46-year-old Urooj Khan’s death in July was the result of cyanide poisoning and not natural causes, as authorities initially concluded. Prosecutors, Chicago police and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office are investigating Khan’s death as a homicide, but they have not given any details, announced any suspects or said whether they believed the lottery win could have presented a motive.

Ansari would not talk about the circumstances of her husband’s death, saying it was too painful to recall. She said only that he fell ill shortly after they had dinner together.

She described Khan as a hard-working and generous man who would send money to orphanages in their native India.

“I was shattered. I can’t believe he’s no longer with me,” the short, soft-spoken Ansari said tearfully, standing in one of three dry-cleaning businesses her husband started after immigrating to the U.S. from India in 1989.

Khan’s death on July 20 was initially ruled a result of natural causes. But a relative’s request for a deeper look resulted in the startling conclusion months later that Kahn was killed with the poison as he was about to collect $425,000 in winnings. Authorities won’t identify the relative.