Joe Paterno Dead at 85

Penn State confirms death of beloved former coach

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Jan 22, 2012 9:28 AM CST

(Newser) – Joe Paterno, who racked up more wins than anyone else in major college football but was fired from Penn State amid a child sex abuse scandal, has died, his family confirmed this morning. He was 85. Paterno "died as he lived," read the statement. "He fought hard until the end, stayed positive, thought only of others and constantly reminded everyone of how blessed his life had been." 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.

The storied career of "JoePa" included 409 wins in 46 seasons and two national championships. 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. In all, Paterno guided five teams to unbeaten, untied seasons. Click for the full text of the Paterno family statement.

In this Oct. 22, 2011 file photo, Penn State coach Joe Paterno stands on the field before his team's NCAA college football game against Northwestern.
In this Oct. 22, 2011 file photo, Penn State coach Joe Paterno stands on the field before his team's NCAA college football game against Northwestern.   (AP Photo/Jim Prisching, File)
In this Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011 file photo, Penn State football coach Joe Paterno arrives home in State College, Pa.
In this Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011 file photo, Penn State football coach Joe Paterno arrives home in State College, Pa.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Candles and memorabilia at the foot of a statue of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno outside Beaver Stadium, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012, in State College, Pa.
Candles and memorabilia at the foot of a statue of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno outside Beaver Stadium, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012, in State College, Pa.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
David Marselles, a senior at Penn State, stands with a cardboard cutout of Joe Paterno near a statue of Paterno, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012, in State College, Pa.
David Marselles, a senior at Penn State, stands with a cardboard cutout of Joe Paterno near a statue of Paterno, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012, in State College, Pa.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Mount Nittany Medical Center, where former Penn State football coach was listed in serious condition on January 22, 2012 in State College, Pa.
Mount Nittany Medical Center, where former Penn State football coach was listed in serious condition on January 22, 2012 in State College, Pa.   (Getty Images)
Candles and memorabilia are placed by well wishers at the foot of a statue of Joe Paterno outside Beaver Stadium, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012.
Candles and memorabilia are placed by well wishers at the foot of a statue of Joe Paterno outside Beaver Stadium, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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