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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 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.

Becky Evans January 22, 2012 at 04:16 PM
RIP Jopa, you will be missed.
Karl Smith January 22, 2012 at 07:06 PM
The whole Sandusky thing will color the way history views Paterno's legacy.
Cora Rowe January 22, 2012 at 09:24 PM
So long, Joe
Hmmmm January 23, 2012 at 12:50 AM
No question, Karl. I think he held on too long; beyond his capacity to effectively manage the scope of the job in the 21st century. He was tested at the end and failed.
Greg Czar January 23, 2012 at 04:26 PM
The actions of a few, Sandusky and the PennState trustees who fired a very good man, who was a great example of passion for what and where you spend your life. RIP JoePa your legacy will outlive the stupidity of a few.
Bill Brown February 05, 2012 at 10:18 PM
I believe that Joe was a good person who's name and hard won fame was tarnished by association with people who think that men should be able to do anything if it feels good. I think he and others surrounding the "demon" known as Sandusky got more punishment than Sandusky will ever get,
Bill Brown February 05, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Angry
Bettina September 12, 2012 at 02:14 AM
God bless JoePa
Linda January 10, 2013 at 12:41 AM
God bless Joe and his family. He has helped many individuals in many ways. We are proud to have been a small part in this larger than life individual.

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