Joe Paterno. 85, died early Sunday morning in the presence of his family and loved ones.
One of the most iconic and -- at one point -- beloved head coaches in college football history, Paterno was a fighter all the way to the end. However, after a valiant battle, he eventually succumbed to complications relating to his lung-cancer treatment and was officially pronounced dead at State College's Mount Nittany Medical Center.
Paterno’s family released the following statement after his passing:
"It is with great sadness that we announce that Joe Paterno passed away earlier today," it said. "His loss leaves a void in our lives that will never be filled.
"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."
As per a Washington Post report, Paterno requested that he not be kept alive through very extreme artificial means.
The last year of Paterno’s life was also undoubtedly the hardest. Between his many legal and ethical missteps coming to light in the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal, his eventual termination from Penn State, and the health problems that followed shortly thereafter – Paterno’s struggles were clear and painful to see. In fact, Paterno’s cancer diagnosis was revealed just a week after he lost his job at Penn State because of the aforementioned sex scandal.
There will be time to debate Paterno's righteousness as a man down the road. Today, however, is not that time. Today we should give the legend his due respect, and send best wishes to a family that has lost a patriarch.
Over the course of 46 seasons as head coach of Penn State, Paterno led the football team to two national championship wins and a total of 409 victories.