Joseph Vincent Paterno, former leader of the Penn State football team and major college football's all-time winningest coach, died Sunday morning at Mount Nittany Medical Center after complications from lung cancer treatments, the AP reports. He was 85.
Via the AP story, here is the statement the Paterno family released announcing his death:
"He died as he lived. 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."
Crowds began gathering at Paterno's house on McKee Street in State College, Joe Paterno's statue outside Beaver Stadium and at Old Main after a statement from the Paterno family Saturday evening said that Paterno's condition was "serious." Paterno was diagnosed with lung cancer in late November.
Paterno won two national championship and three Big Ten championships at Penn State. He also led the Nittany Lions to five undefeated seasons and a record 24 bowl victories in his 46 seasons as head coach.
He joined the Penn State staff in 1950 after graduating from Brown and followed his former coach, Rip Engle, to Happy Valley, coaching as an assistant under his mentor. Paterno took over for Engle in 1966 and went on to become a figure beloved in the Penn State community not just for his success on the field, but his philanthropy off it. A library on campus bears his name after Paterno donated millions of dollars for its construction.
Paterno's teams routinely posted among the highest graduation rates in the sport, part of what he called the "Grand Experiment," seeking to establish a football program that stressed both athletic and academic success.