A murdered footballer has helped 1,800 fans win the lottery from beyond the grave after they used the number of his tomb on their slips.
Colombian striker Albeiro ‘El Palomo’ Usuriaga was shot dead on 11th February 2004 while playing a card game in a nightclub district in his hometown of Cali.
Last Sunday, a lottery ticket seller in Cali appeared on television saying it was normal for her customers to bet using the number of Usuriaga’s tomb in Metropolitano del Sur cemetery in Cali, 3582, on the anniversary of his death as the number often came up.
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Local media report after the seller made the comments, many more lottery players decided to use the number on their next ticket.
The following day, 3582 were the winning numbers in the local Contico Millonario lottery and a reported 1,800 players won.
The grand prize of 1.7 billion COP (400,123 GBP) will be shared amongst the winners who chose the dead footballing hero’s number.
Mauricio Orozco, commerical director of Gane, the company which runs the Chontico Millionario lottery, told local radio station La FM: “A Chontico saleswoman went on television and said it was very common that on every anniversary of Palomo’s death the number of his tomb came up and she recommended people to play with it.
“And that’s how there were approximately 1,800 winners.”
Usuriaga was shot dead by three gunmen and prosecutors claim the murder was ordered by Jefferson Valdez Marin, the head of a criminal gang called ‘La Negra’.
Investigators said that Marin ordered the footballer’s death as Usuriaga had begun dating his ex-girlfriend.
The former striker, who died at the age of 37, won the Copa Libertadores with Atletico Nacional in 1989 and played for Spanish side Malaga in 1990.
He made 15 appearances for the Colombian national side, scoring one goal.