Weather Updates

Early test results confirm lottery winner died of cyanide poisoning

ShabanAnsari (left) wife Urooj Khan (center) when he received $1 millicheck from Illinois Lottery. Courtesy NBC5

Shabana Ansari (left) wife of Urooj Khan (center) when he received the $1 million check from the Illinois Lottery. Courtesy NBC5

storyidforme: 44562493
tmspicid: 15841864
fileheaderid: 7117475
Article Extras
Story Image

Updated: March 14, 2013 6:48AM

A case of murder most foul?

Sneed has learned that preliminary test results involving the mysterious death of $1 million lottery winner Urooj Khan, the victim of a deadly whodunit that has garnered national headlines, conclude that he died of cyanide poisoning.

“Some of the test results are back, and they do not contradict earlier tests from preliminary autopsy samples Khan had been poisoned with cyanide,” said a source familiar with the exhumation and examination of Khan’s body.

Dr. Stephen Cina, the Cook County Medical Examiner, is still awaiting the final autopsy report.

Khan died last July, just before he was to collect more than $400,000 in lottery winnings — which his brother Imtiaz reportedly told police was more than suspicious.

Though a preliminary external autopsy suggested hardening of the arteries as the cause of Khan’s death, tests on samples from his body done after his brother voiced his suspicions showed that Khan had been poisoned with cyanide.

Khan’s body, which had not been embalmed, in accordance with Muslim tradition, was exhumed in January for more complete testing to show whether the poison was ingested or inhaled.

But there was some fear the non-embalmed body might be too decomposed for accurate test results.

Khan’s last meal was prepared by his wife, Shabana Ansari, who denies any involvement in her husband’s death. Ansari said her father, Khan and Khan’s daughter from a previous marriage attended the dinner, though it’s not clear who ate the food.

The Chicago Sun-Times recently reported that the majority of Khan’s estate, largely tied up in a dry cleaning business, will go to his widow. The remainder — including the lottery winnings — will be split between Ansari and Khan’s daughter.

Stalk talk . . .

In case you need a feed for your trivia file: New Secretary of State John Kerry will not eat celery.

The Jackson file . . .

Who said: “For members of Congress who cannot afford television commercials, the State of the Union speech and a well-positioned seat allows a member to be seen in their district at work?”

◆Answer: Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who used to be an aisle regular during the State of the Union.

The Daley news . . .

Former Mayor Rich Daley has been keeping a low profile these days.

◆He’s happy.

◆He’s been spotted dating a doctor — but contrary to rumor, not Desiree Rogers, a good friend.

◆He’s traveling a lot, mostly for business . . . and still hanging out with his best buddy/sidekick attorney Terry Newman.

◆And on Monday, hewas spotted having lunch at Gibsons Steakhouse with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the brother of one of Rich’s favorite pals . . . former President George W. Bush, who loved inviting Rich to the White House. It was Jeb’s birthday, but no cake in sight.

Kirk’s perk . . .

Sen. Mark Kirk, who is still recovering from a serious stroke that affected his ability to walk, issued a special invite to his physical therapist, Michael Klonowski, who had been working with him at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, to attend President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday night.

Tips & twaddle . . .

Film ’em: Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s 4-year-old daughter, Vivienne, earned $3,000 a week for filming scenes for the upcoming Disney flick “Maleficent.”

O.J. juice . . .

Flim-flam ’em: It should come as no surprise, but football celeb from hell O.J. Simpson, who is serving a 33-year sentence for kidnapping and armed robbery, hosted a Super Bowl party this month in his jail cell at a Nevada prison, according to the New York Post.

◆Translation: He’s got a personal TV in his cell.

Sneedlings . . .

Wednesday’s birthdays: Peter Gabriel, 63; Jerry Springer, 69 (right); Kim Novak, 80, and Thomas Grusecki, priceless.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.