Joe Paterno Dead at 85

The legendary Penn State football coach succumbs after battling lung cancer.

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Associated Press

The "winningest coach in college football" history has died. Joe Paterno's family confirmed through a released statement that the legendary coach died earlier today. He was 85 years old. 

"It is with great sadness that we announce that Joe Paterno passed away earlier today," the family said in a 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."

"Joe Pa," as Penn State Nittany Lions faithful and sports fans across the world called him, was diagnosed with lung cancer in November of last year. The diagnosis came at one of the worst times in Paterno's career. 

The man who was revered for 46 years turned into a controversial figure after a child sex-abuse scandal involving one of his former assistant coaches rocked the university. Jerry Sandusky, who was charged with sexually assaulting eight boys over 15 years, was an assistant under Paterno when many of the crimes are alleged to have happened. While a graduate assistant coach informed Paterno about an incident, he did not alert police, which ultimately cost him his job on Nov. 9, 2011.

Paterno was admitted back to the hospital on Jan. 13 as his condition took a turn for the worse.

He began his tenure at Penn State in 1966. His teams won a record 409 games over that span, with five undefeated and untied seasons and two national championships. 

Read more at the Washington Post.

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