Legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has lost his two-month battle with lung cancer.
The man known affectionately as JoePa died early Sunday morning surrounded by family. He was 85.
“It is with great sadness that we announce that Joe Paterno passed away earlier today,” the Paterno family said in a released statement. “His loss leaves a void in our lives that will never be filled.
“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 end comes following a two-month period filled with controversy and despair, which were contrary to most of the 46 seasons he spent as Penn State’s came. The man who won two national titles and became the Division I all-time winningest coach with 409 victories – all at the same school — left the program in November under a cloud after evidence came to light that one of his former assistant coach may have molested young boys and Paterno had knowledge but had not turned over what he knew to the authorities.
Within nine days of him being fired by Penn State, Paterno was diagnosed with lung cancer on Nov. 18. There was no evidence that prior to the Jerry Sandusky molestation evidence that Paterno had any plans to retire or that he was sick.
But once he was diagnosed the disease seemed to progress quickly. His condition took a turn for the worse recently after he broke his pelvis in a fall at his State College, Pa. home, according to reports.
Officially Paterno died of complication from lung cancer treatment. He passed away while in the care of State College’s Mount Nittany Medical Center, where he was undergoing treatment.