Joe Paterno Dies at 85 From Lung Cancer
The Penn State coach has died of lung cancer complications
By: Athlon Sports | 1/22/12, 9:14 AM EST
Joe Paterno, the recently embattled Penn State football coach, has died at the age of 85 from lung cancer complications.
The man who has won more football games than anyone else and was seen, until recently, as one of the most honored and respected men in the game wasn't able to survive his fight with the deadly disease.
His family released a statement Sunday morning to announce his death.
Paterno's son Scott announced Nov. 18 that his father was being treated for lung cancer, which was diagnosed in mid-November during a follow-up visit for a bronchial illness.
Jay Paterno, one of Paterno's sons, thanked fans for their support Saturday.
"I appreciate the support & prayers. Joe is continuing to fight," Jay Paterno wrote on his own Twitter account.
The storied career of "JoePa" included 409 wins in 46 seasons and two national championships.
Paterno died at State College's Mount Nittany Medical Center, where he had been undergoing treatment.
Paterno remained connected to a ventilator into Sunday, individuals close to Paterno's family told The Washington Post.
The newspaper reported the family had communicated to the hospital his wishes not to be kept alive through extreme artificial means.
Paterno's cancer diagnosis was revealed Nov. 18, nine days after he lost his Penn State head coaching job in the fallout of sexual abuse charges against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
But his reputation for success with honor was shattered when a former assistant was charged with molesting 10 boys during a 15-year span, including some in the Penn State athletic complex.
Critics said Paterno should have done more to stop it. He was fired Nov. 9.
How much a of a role the scandal that severely tarnished the reputation of the man whow as considered the grandfather of college football played in the speed and his ability to fight his illness will never be known. But it's probably safe to say that this whole ordeal weighed on him very, very heavily.
Joe Paterno recently told The Washington Post that he did not know how to deal with the report from Mike McQueary that his former defensive coordinator--Jerry Sandusky--was accused of abusing a boy in the showers.
"I didn't know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was," he told The Post in an extensive two-day interview at his home. "So I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought would have a little more expertise than I did. It didn't work out that way."
In all, Paterno guided five teams to unbeaten, untied seasons.
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