Joe Paterno (Getty Images Sports)
Joe Paterno (Getty Images Sports)

Update on January 22, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. ET: It has been confirmed by his family that Joe Paterno died overnight.



Former Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno's health has taken a turn for the worse.


According to CBS News:

Joe Paterno's doctors say the former Penn State coach's condition has become "serious" after he experienced complications from lung cancer in recent days.

The winningest major college football coach of all time, Paterno was diagnosed shortly after Penn State's Board of Trustees ousted him Nov. 9 in the aftermath of the child sex abuse charges against former assistant Jerry Sandusky. Paterno's been getting treatment since, and his health problems were worsened when he broke his pelvis — an injury that first cropped up when he was accidentally hit in preseason practice last year.

"Over the last few days Joe Paterno has experienced further health complications," family spokesman Dan McGinn said in a brief statement Saturday to The Associated Press. "His doctors have now characterized his status as serious.

Saturday on Twitter, his son Jay Paterno wrote, "I appreciate the support & prayers. Joe is continuing to fight"; and in response to students gathering near his father's statue outside Beaver Stadium, he messaged, "Drove by students at the Joe statue. Just told my Dad about all the love & support—inspiring him."

Earlier, unverified reports that Joe Paterno had died were picked up by national media outlets. They resulted in an apology by CBS Sports and a posting by the managing editor of, a student-run blog at Penn State, announcing his resignation. The Root linked to one of those unconfirmed reports on our Facebook fan page, and we apologize for the error.


Sheryl Huggins Salomon is senior editor-at-large of The Root and a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based editorial consultant. Follow her on Twitter.

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