In Memory

01.22.12

Penn State Coach Joe Paterno Dead at 85: Photos of His Life

Paterno, the winningest coach in college football history, died on Sunday after a battle with lung cancer.

Legendary Penn State head coach Joe Paterno died Sunday at age 85 after being rushed to the hospital Saturday  in “serious condition.”

His family released a statement: "He died as he lived. 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."

The longtime Nittany Lions football coach, who this month spoke to a reporter for the first time since news of the Jerry Sandusky child-sex-abuse scandal rocked Penn State, was told he had lung cancer days after he let go by the university’s board of trustees in November. He was also hospitalized this year after an August accident during team practice left him with an injured pelvis, which he later fractured.

Paterno was briefly reported to have died Saturday by major media outlets, including The Daily Beast, after a report was posted on CBS Sports. A Paterno spokesman has denied the report and Paterno's son Joe Paterno tweeted, “Dad is alive but in serious condition. We continue to ask for your prayers and privacy during this time.”

Paterno is survived by Susan Pohland, his wife of 50 years, and their five children, all of whom graduated from Penn State.