STATE COLLEGE (KDKA/AP ) – Legendary Penn State fo0tball coach, Joe Paterno has died at the age of 85.
According to an Associated Press report, Paterno died Sunday morning after being hospitalized following minor complications from lung cancer treatments.READ MORE: Pa. State Police Searching For Valentine Eiler, Missing 80-Year-Old Man Near Meadville
His family released a statement Sunday morning to announce his death:
“His loss leaves a void in our lives that will never be filled.”
“He died as he lived,” the 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.”
During his storied 46-year career at Penn State, he led the Nittany Lions to 409 wins, 37 bowl games and two national championships.
However, the university and the football program suffered a black eye in the midst of a child sex abuse scandal involving a former coach which broke in November.
Jerry Sandusky is accused of sexually assaulting 10 boys over a 15-year span. One of the alleged incidents was allegedly witnessed by then graduate assistant, Mike McQueary.
Former Penn State administrators Tim Curley and Gary Schultz will stand trial on perjury charges; they are accused of lying to a grand jury investigating Sandusky.
In December, Sandusky waived his preliminary hearing.
The charges reportedly follow a two-year grand jury investigation after a teenage boy said Sandusky had inappropriate contact with him over a four-year period.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Weather: Warm Temperatures For Last Day Of Summer
Sandusky’s attorney said his client maintains his innocence.
At a preliminary hearing for Curley and Schultz, McQueary testified that he had seen Sandusky attacking a child with his hands around the boy’s waist but said he wasn’t 100 percent sure it was intercourse.
McQueary went to Paterno about what he had seen and described Paterno as shocked and saddened. He also said the coach told him he’d “done the right thing” by reporting the encounter.
When the scandal broke, Paterno said he would retire at the end of the season. However, he was relieved of his coaching duties by the university trustees.
University President Graham Spanier was also fired along with Paterno.
On Sunday, State College residents were expressing shock and sadness after Paterno’s death.
At a Sunday Mass on campus before Paterno’s family announced he died, a priest asked worshipers to pray for Paterno.
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