Joe Paterno died Sunday, following false reports of his death Saturday.
Rumors that Paterno had passed away were swirling Saturday, though his family denied reports, saying that he was in “Serious condition.”
The family confirmed his death Sunday through a statement:
“It is with great sadness that we announce that Joe Paterno passed away earlier today,” the family said. “His loss leaves a void in our lives that will never be filled.”
“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 family statement said Sunday, reported CNN.
Paterno was 85 and died of complications from lung cancer.
“A special thanks to the Hospital staff. They helped us all through the past few days. Can not begin to express our gratitude,” tweeted Joe’s son, Jay.
“We would also like to thank all of the tens of thousands of people who have been praying – your kindness continues to sustain us,” tweeted Joe’s son Scott.
Saturday, a family spokesperson denied reports that the former football coach had died.
“Over the last few days Joe Paterno has experienced further health complications,” family spokesman Dan McGinn said in a statement to the Associated Press. “His doctors have now characterized his status as serious.”
Paterno’s health has been deteriorating in recent weeks. He was hospitalized in January for complications from his cancer treatment. He was also hospitalized in December after breaking his pelvis in a fall at his residence.
According to the L.A. Times, reports surfaced that the 85-year-old Penn State coach was on a respirator and his family was trying to decide whether he should be removed from it.
As we previously reported, Paterno’s condition was first revealed in November, right after he was fired from coaching the Nittany Lions in the wake of a major sex scandal.
Paterno was once revered as the winningest college football coach with 409 victories but was recently caught up in a sex scandal that rocked Penn State—His longtime coaching aid Jerry Sandusky was arrested in relation to child abuse allegations and Paterno was reportedly notified of the abuse but did little beyond his legal obligation to prevent it, reported Huffington Post.