Oregon $1.3B Powerball winner is Laotian immigrant who has cancer

The winner of the $1.3 billion Powerball jackpot out of Oregon was revealed to be a Laos-born immigrant who has been fighting cancer for the past eight years. 

Cheng "Charlie" Saephan, 46, of Portland, announced during a news conference that he and his wife would be splitting the prize with a friend who had chipped in to buy lottery tickets. 

They are taking a lump sum payment of $422 million after taxes. 

"I am grateful for the lottery and how I have been blessed," Saephan said, according to FOX 8. "I am able to provide for my family and my health. My life has been changed. Now I can bless my family and hire a good doctor for myself." 

powerball winner laotian immigrant

(KPTV via FOX)

After Saephan and his friend, Laiza Chao, bought the shared tickets, Chao sent a photo of the tickets to Saephan and said, "We’re billionaires." It was a joke before the actual drawing, he said, but the next day it came true. 

RELATED: $1.3B Powerball jackpot won by single ticket holder in Oregon 

The winning Powerball ticket was sold in early April at a Plaid Pantry convenience store in Portland, ending a winless streak that had stretched more than three months. The Oregon Lottery said it had to go through a security and vetting process before announcing the identity of the person who came forward to claim the prize. 

Under Oregon law, with few exceptions, lottery players cannot remain anonymous. Winners have a year to claim the top prize.

The jackpot has a cash value of $621 million before taxes if the winner chooses to take a lump sum rather than an annuity paid over 30 years, with an immediate payout followed by 29 annual installments. The prize is subject to federal taxes and state taxes in Oregon. 

The $1.3 billion prize is the fourth largest Powerball jackpot in history, and the eighth largest among U.S. jackpot games, according to the Oregon Lottery. 

The biggest U.S. lottery jackpot won was $2.04 billion in California in 2022. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.