By Veronica Roberts
Sunday January 22, 2012
UPDATED: The icon of Penn State is no more: Veteran former coachlost his fight with cancer. His death was announced by his family on Sunday. Calling him ."a fighter who lived as he died, fighting to the end" the statement published by Sports News went on to say 'Jo Pa" lived for his family, his players, his community and his university and that the "void he leaves can never be filled."
Jo Pa leaves behind his wife sue, 5 children and 17 grandchildren.
Funeral announcements are not yet available.
Students gathered in tearful vigil at Penn State on Saturday night to pray for their beloved Jo Pa and again on Sunday at his statue to pay their respects. Cars are arriving in droves as well as foot traffic. A man in a wheelchair was seen on CNN slowly manuervering in the crowd to show he cared as well. Numerous flowers and candles blanket Penn State grounds left there by distraught fans and they keep coming even as I type to pay tribute to a man they see as great.
One grieving man was heard saying," Paterno will always be loved, he was not responsible for what happened," referring to the child sex abuse scandal that erupted to cut short and mar Paterno's otherwise stellar record which included an impressive 409 wins since his 1966 career as a coach began at PSU.
Twitter lit up with endless tweets, most favorable and some not so much. In the end Paterno generated widespread raw emotion as much as he did leading the Nittany Lions. His stamina, drive and passion followed him to the end.
Scroll down for my earlier report.
Saturday January, 21, 2012
Harrisburg, PA]-----Breaking News: Penn State veteran former coach Joe Paterno is Reportedly Gravely Ill and his last rites already given at State College hospital where he has been under-going treatment.
According to The Citizens' Voice of Wilkes-Barre, Pa, Paterno is losing his battle with lung cancer and is sadly dying.
The 85-year-old ex-coach last days at Penn State were not pleasant, fired amid a shocking child sex abuse scandal where his assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was arrested November 5, 2011 and charged with over 40 counts of molestation.
Paterno was fired November 9, for allegedly not notifying police about the abuse after he was told about it by then graduate student Mike McQueary. He did reportedly inform Penn State personnel.
Paterno's firing did not go down well with many of the students at the university and riots erupted on campus the night after. Students also gathered outside his home in support.
Not all students protested his firing though and some felt it was justified. Holding up a sign which said, "All that is needed for the forces of evil to succeed, is for enough good men to remain silent," some students protested the years of cover-up that existed in the hallowed halls of learning.
After his stellar decades long, 46 seasons career at Penn, and his generosity in donating over $4 million to that university, the beloved coach had to leave under a cloud of shame instead of the pomp and ceremony his career would have garnered under normal circumstances.. His difficult time was compounded when he was diagnosed with cancer on November 19.
A family spokesperson has issued a statement reportedly asking for privacy at this very difficult time.
Will bring you updates as they become available.