Joe Paterno was rumored to have died Saturday but family denied the reports, saying he’s in serious condition.
“CBS report is wrong – Dad is alive but in serious condition. We continue to ask for your prayers and privacy during this time,” tweeted Joe Paterno’s son, Scott.
“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.”
The former winningest college football coach has been in the hospital since January 13 due to complications from lung cancer.
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.
Paterno’s condition was first revealed in November. News of his diagnosis went public right after he was fired from coaching the Nittany Lions.
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.
Paterno was dismissed after his longtime coaching aid Jerry Sandusky was arrested in relation to child abuse allegations—Paterno was reportedly notified of the abuse but reports say he did little beyond his legal obligation to prevent it, reported Huffington Post.
Though he was dismissed, students at the school still supported Paterno, even holding a vigil in his honor Saturday night. According to AP, students held candles and remained silent during a vigil around Paterno’s statue.
Paterno’s son later tweeted, “Drove by students at the Joe statue [on Penn State’s campus]. Just told my Dad about all the love & support — inspiring him.”