Joe Paterno: 1926-2012
The legendary Penn State football died Sunday morning after battling lung cancer.
Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has lost his battle with cancer at the age of 85.
After conflicting reports and speculation running rampant on Saturday, the Paterno family released a statement Sunday morning confirming his death.
"He died as he lived," the statement said. "He fought hard until the end, stayed positive, thought only of others and constantly reminded everyone of how blessed his life had been. His ambitions were far reaching, but he never believed he had to leave this Happy Valley to achieve them. He was a man devoted to his family, his university, his players and his community."
Paterno won more college football games (409) than any other coach, but the legend is overshadowed by the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal that rocked an entire nation. It resulted in Paterno losing his job, his legacy tarnished and he fell sick shortly after he was dismissed as head coach.
Paterno was diagnosed with lung cancer on Nov. 18, and then was admitted to the hospital after he broke his pelvis.
On Saturday, Sue Paterno summoned family members and close friends to State College Hospital to say their final goodbyes. Paterno was in the hospital since Jan. 13.
Reports first surfaced Saturday afternoon that Paterno was in “serious” condition. There were also conflicting reports later that night that said Paterno had indeed passed away. Messages were filtered throughout social media web sites from fans and students giving his family support.
Shortly after, though, a family spokesman denied the report that he had passed away. Paterno’s son, Joe, sent the following message out via Twitter: "I appreciate the support (and) prayers. Joe is continuing to fight."
No less than 12 hours later, however, Paterno had lost his fight. He was weakened by radiation and chemotherapy treatments, according to one family member.
Paterno led the Nittany Lions to 37 bowl games and two national championships. He coached more than 250 players who went on to compete in the NFL. He coached in Happy Valley for 46 years from 1946-2011.
Students in State College were seen digging Joe Paterno’s statue out of the snow Saturday night. On Sunday, Police blocked off the entrance to Joe and Sue Paterno’s house on McKee Street.