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Arizona winner claims half of $587.5 million Powerball jackpot

PHOENIX (Reuters) - The holder of a winning lottery ticket bought in Arizona has come forward to claim half of a record $587.5 million Powerball lottery jackpot, the Arizona lottery said on Friday.

The ticket holder, who has not been identified, shares the huge prize in the November 29 draw with a Missouri couple, Mark and Cindy Hill, who claimed their prize a week ago.

The Arizona winner, who bought the ticket at a food store in the Phoenix valley but did not immediately come forward to claim the prize, has opted to take $192 million before taxes rather than a larger annuity payment over 30 years, the lottery said.

Lottery authorities were due to hold a news conference later in Phoenix to provide further details, although they said the winner had declined to participate.

The popular lottery - which is played in 42 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands - had not had a winner for two months.

Hopes of winning the vast prize spurred frenzied ticket sales in the days before the draw, boosting the prize by more than $260 million.

The Hills - a mechanic and a former office manager - also opted to take the prize in cash. They told a news conference they would stay put in Missouri, but had plans to travel.

(Reporting by Tim Gaynor; Editing by Paul Thomasch, Cynthia Johnston and Todd Eastham)

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