Joe Paterno has lost his bout against lung cancer this morning, according to a report. His friends and family convened at his hospital bedside Saturday evening for a final goodbye.
"It is with great sadness that we announce that Joe Paterno passed away earlier today," Paterno's family said in a statement released around 10 a.m Sunday. “He died as he lived. 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.”
Yesterday, a Penn State spokesman released this statement on Paterno’s condition: "Over the last few days Joe Paterno has experienced further health complications. His doctors have now characterized his status as serious. His family will have no comment on the situation and asks that their privacy be respected during this difficult time."
CBSSports.com reported that Paterno had died Saturday, but Scott Paterno, Joe’s son, tweeted that the report was false. Jay Paterno, Joe’s other son, also went to Twitter with an update on his father’s health.
Paterno, at 85 years old, had been in the hospital since Jan. 13. The all-time winningest coach in Division-1 football history was diagnosed with cancer Nov. 11, two days after he and the university parted ways due to his alleged involvement in the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal. There are conflicting reports about the severity of Paterno’s cancer.
In a display of support for Paterno, about 200 Penn State students shoveled snow near his statue on the campus of Beaver Stadium and lit candles.