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Legendary Penn State Football Coach Joe Paterno Dies at 85

Joe Paterno dead
Patrick Smith/Rob Carr, Getty Images

Former Penn State coach Joe Paterno, the all-time leader in college football history who was involved in the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State, has died at age 85 of lung cancer.

“He died as he lived,” a family 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.”

His illness reportedly grew worse over the weekend, and rumors swirled about Paterno’s death prematurely. A Penn State senior stepped down from his publication, Onward State, after too early reporting the former coach’s death late Saturday night.

Paterno won 409 games, and led Penn State to 37 bowl games and two national championships. Despite this impressive record, the university let Paterno go in November amid reports that he helped cover up child abuse allegations hurled at his defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky. With memorial sites being erected and football communities showing their support for Paterno, however, it doesn’t look as though that unfortunate moment will be all that defines his lifetime.

Joe Paterno memorial
Patrick Smith, Getty Images

 

Joe Paterno memorial
Mario Tama, Getty Images

[Associated Press via The Houston Chronicle]

Photo by Aaron Savage
Photo by Aaron Savage
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