British man who gambled on his life dies of cancer

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A British man with terminal cancer who won 10,000 pounds (15,000 dollars, 11,700 euros) by gambling on his own life has died, just weeks short of cashing in a third bet.

Jon Matthews, 60, from Milton Keynes north of London, was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer linked to asbestos, in April 2006 and his doctor told him he would not be alive to see 2007.

The widower refused to accept the prognosis and placed a 100-pound bet with odds of 50-1 that he would survive until June 1, 2008 -- and cashed in 5,000 pounds when he made it, according to bookmakers William Hill.

He placed a further bet, for the same amount and with the same odds, that he would make it another year -- and on June 1, 2009, cashed in another 5,000.

The odds that he would stay alive another 12 months went up to 100-1 and he placed another 100-pound bet, which would have netted him 10,000 pounds if he survived until June 1, 2010, but he finally succumbed to his illness last week, the bookmakers said.

Graham Sharp, who took the bet for William Hill, said he was "very sad when I heard he'd died" but the gambling had given Matthews "fun and enjoyment".

"When he first approached us about it I was in two minds and thought we'd be accused of doing something in bad taste. But it gave him an incentive to keep on battling through the disease," Sharp said.

© 2010 AFP

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