Fired Penn State Coach Joe Paterno Dead at 85


Former Penn State University coach Joe Paterno died at age 85, his family said Sunday.

“He died as he lived,” a statement from his family 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’s son announced in November that the former coach was undergoing treatment for lung cancer, shortly after he was dismissed from Penn State amid a major child sex abuse scandal.

Paterno had been in the hospital since Jan. 13, shortly after he conducted his only interview since losing his job. In it, Paterno said he “didn’t know which way to go” after an assistant coach came to him in 2002 saying he had seen retired defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky sexually abusing a boy.

Doctors said Saturday the beloved Paterno was in “serious” condition, and false reports of his death briefly circulated before being shot down by his family.

“With great sadness we mourn the passing of Coach Joe Paterno…Few have done more,” a message on Penn State Football’s Facebook page read Sunday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.